How to Ask Questions: HOW LONG, HOW MUCH…

How to Ask Questions: HOW LONG, HOW MUCH…

What is the difference between “how much time” and “how many times”? Do we say “how long” or “how long time”? In this essential English lesson, I will teach you how we use “how much time”, “how long”, and “how many times”. I will also look at some of the most common mistakes students make with these question words and teach you how to correct them. At the end of this video, you will know exactly how to form questions using “how”. After watching, take my quiz at to make sure you understand.


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.