How to Ask Questions: HOW LONG, HOW MUCH...


Hi there. My name is Emma,

and in today's video I am going to teach you a very, very important grammar point.

I'm going to teach you about a mistake many, many students make.

So I don't want you to make this mistake, so let's get started. In this video I am going

to teach you the difference between

"How long", "How long time", "How much time" and "How many times".

Students often confuse these four expressions. So let's look at some of the differences.

So I have here a question. I actually have three different sentences, here. One of them

is right, two of them are wrong. Okay? So let's look at these together. The first one:

"How long time have you been here?"

The second one: "How long have you been here?"

And the third one: "How many time have you been here?"

So one of these is correct. Which one do you think is right?

If you said: "How long time have you been here?" that's incorrect. This

one, it's wrong. Number two: "How long have you been here?" If you said this one, you

are correct. This is right. What about the last one? "How many time have you been here?"

This one is also wrong, but we can make it right if we add an "s". So let's go over each

of these so you can find out why some of these are wrong, and why some of them are right.

To get started, let's look at "How long". So when we ask somebody: "How long...?" we

are asking them about time. Okay? We want to know the amount of time for something.

So, for example: "How long have you been here?" I want to know, maybe, how many minutes. Or

maybe I want to know how many hours you've been here. Okay? If I ask you:

"How long have you lived in England?"

an answer would be a number that has to do with time. You might

say: "Five years.", "Four weeks.", "Two months." Okay? So when we ask: "How long...?" the answer

and what we want to know is about time; minutes, hours, days, months, weeks, years. Okay?

So let's look at another example. "How long have you lived in Spain?" The answer is going

to be something about time. "Three years." Okay? You'll notice not always, but many times

we use: "How long" with the present perfect. It's possible to use it with the past tense,

the simple past, and also the future, but you will often see it with the present perfect.

"How long have you been married?", "How long have you worked here?",

"How long have you studied English?"

Okay? So a lot of the questions you probably want to ask somebody, you're

probably going to use: "How long have you...?" Okay? Very common way we ask questions.

So, what about: "How long time"? Can I say that also? Can I say:

"How long time have you lived in Spain?"

or: "How long time did you sleep on the plane?"

No. If you're asking

how long, you don't need the word "time". Okay? We never say in English: "How long time".

Many students say: "How long time", but this is not correct. The correct expression: "How long".

Not: "How long time". All right, so now let's look at "How much time" and "How many times".

Okay, so we've talked about "How long", which is good, "How long time", which is bad. Now

let's look at: "How much time...?" I think this is why many students get confused. I

think they confuse: "How long" and "How much time", and they... As a result, they create:

"How long time", which is incorrect.

So: "How much time" actually is pretty much the same as "How long".

When you ask: "How much time...?" you want to know about the amount of time.

You want to know about maybe

it's minutes, days, weeks, months, years. It's the same as "How long". Okay? So, for

example: "How much time does it take to get to work?"

I could also say: "How long does it take to get to work?"

They have the same meaning. Or: "How much time have you waited?",

"How much time have you been in line for?" Okay? So, the answers to these questions are

going to be about time. -"How much time does it take to get to work?"

"For me, it takes one hour."

"How much time have you waited in line?" -"I've waited in line five minutes."

Okay? So, for both "How long" and "How much time", they're pretty much the same. In conversation,

we usually use "How long". Okay? You can use both, but native speakers are more likely

to use "How long". So if you're trying to decide: Do I use "How much time" or "How long"?

"How long" is more natural and it's more common. Okay? But they mean the same thing.

Now, here's another area many students get confused. "How many times...?" "How many times"

is not the same as "How much time". The words "how" and "time" are the same, but these have

different meanings. First, before I tell you what this means, I want you to notice the

word "time" and "time" here. With "How much time" is there an "s"? No, there is no "s".

But for "How many times" there always is an "s". We don't say: "How many time", we say:

"How many times" with an "s". So this has a different meaning than this.

This is different because when you ask someone: "How many times", you want to know the number

of events. Not the time, the number of events. So you're counting; one, two, three, four, five. Okay?

So, for example, you might say: "How many times did you watch the movie Titanic?"

Some people watched the movie once, some people watched the movie twice, some people watched

the movie 100 times, maybe even 500 times. Okay?

So: "How many times did you watch the movie Titanic?",

"How many times did you eat today?" Maybe if you had breakfast, lunch,

and dinner, you ate three times. -"How many times have you been to the museum?"

-"I've been to the museum five times." Okay? So this, for "How many times", you're counting. And

your answer, it could be once, twice. After twice, we often say: "Three times", with an

"s" also, "Four times". Okay? We can also say: "One time", "Two times", that's possible, too.

So here's one more example: "How many times will you watch this video?"

Will you watch it one time, two times, three times, 100 times? I hope not, but I hope you watch this video.

And if you need to watch it multiple times, it can help you really with your understanding.

Okay, so just to go over what you learned in this video: We talked about "How long"

meaning we're talking about time; minutes, hours, days. We talked about "How much time"

which has the same meaning, but is less common. We talked about "How many times", which is

not the same, and which means you're counting. Okay? And we also talked about "How long time",

which is never, never correct in English. We never say: "How long time". Okay? So, it's

very good to practice these ideas and these concepts,

so I invite you to come visit our website at

There, you can do a quiz where you can practice these to

make sure you really understand the differences between these expressions.

Until next time, take care.