This post looks to solve once and for all of your issues with FOR and DURING. This is a common mistake, especially for Spanish speakers who are learning English. The best tip I can offer is to follow these simple tips to make sure that you never confuse them again.



We use both for and during to talk about something that happens, they are to make reference that something occurs inside a time period. The easiest way to work out the difference between FOR and DURING is to remember two key points:


FOR is used + duration of time, for example:

I have been learning English for 6 months.

Not: during 6 months

He has been working here for 12 years.

Not: during 12 years

I have been reading this blog for 17 minutes.

Not: during 17 minutes


During is used + name of a time period:

He works during the week.

Not: for the week

I have been relaxing during the summer holidays.

Not: for the summer holidays

We clean the terrace during spring.

Not: for spring


Collocations (examples) with FOR:

Account for – explain, cause

Apply for – put yourself forwards as a candidate

Act for – do something in the name of

Aim for – try to hit a target

Answer for – respond in the name of

Apologise for – say sorry for

Head for – go towards

Substitute for – exchange for

Be responsible for – be in charge of

Bargain for – expect to get

Argue for – give reasons for


Fixed expressions with FOR:

For ages

For a long time

For instance

For my part

For ever

For now

For example


FOR in the expression of purpose:

We can use FOR + ing to express purpose, but when we are talking about the function of an object, for example:

We use a corkscrew for opening wine bottles.

We can also use to open

Cutlery is used for eating at mealtimes.

We can also use to eat


The final thing to talk about is the use of FOR and SINCE. FOR as mentioned earlier is used + duration of time; differently SINCE is used + a point in time, for instance:

I have lived in Spain since 2009

Not: for 2009

However, we can use SINCE + duration + ago

I have been living here since 11 years ago.


The important thing is to look to practice the use of FOR and DURING through their use. That way you will consolidate them much better. And of course, do not confuse FOR and SINCE.




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