for long / for a long time

flying-swan

Member
Spanish
hi everybody,

I just want to be sure about the correct usage of these two words when in a sentence, here are my examples:

I won't be here for long

I won't be here for a long time

I know the second one sounds more correct but the first one gives the reader a different idea, it sounds kind of informal and I like it. Is it also correct?


Thanks in advance :)
 
  • florbonita23

    Senior Member
    spanish
    hi everybody,

    I just want to be sure about the correct usage of these two words when in a sentence, here are my examples:

    I won't be here for long

    I won't be here for a long time

    I know the second one sounds more correct but the first one gives the reader a different idea, it sounds kind of informal and I like it. Is it also correct?


    Thanks in advance :)
    :tick:
     

    Peggy-Lynn

    Senior Member
    English
    hi everybody,

    I just want to be sure about the correct usage of these two words when in a sentence, here are my examples:

    I won't be here for long

    I won't be here for a long time

    I know the second one sounds more correct but the first one gives the reader a different idea, it sounds kind of informal and I like it. Is it also correct?


    Thanks in advance :)
    I actually prefer the first example. In negative sentences and with questions I much prefer "for long":
    "Will you be in Spain for long?"
    "I won't be in the country for long"
    "I'm just going to see John, I won't stay for long"

    I would use "for a long time" in positive sentences though:
    "I was in Spain for a long time"
    "I was at John's house for a long time"

    To me, the second example (I won't be here for a long time) sounds a bit odd. In fact, to me it suggests that you want to say "I won't be back here for a long time" (as in "I won't return"). If you want to say "I won't stay here for long", then I would much prefer "I won't be here for long" or "I won't be here for very long", which both have exactly the same meaning.
    As far as I'm aware, "I won't be here for long" is not especially formal or informal, it is just perfectly normal English.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Agree with peggy-lynn
    The first is much more idiomatic and I would usually use it in conversation.
    The second I would use more in formal writing because of the possible confusion about whether you mean staying a long time now or whether you mean you won´t return for a long time in the future. In writing I can make the context obvious.
     

    flying-swan

    Member
    Spanish
    I actually prefer the first example. In negative sentences and with questions I much prefer "for long":
    "Will you be in Spain for long?"
    "I won't be in the country for long"
    "I'm just going to see John, I won't stay for long"

    I would use "for a long time" in positive sentences though:
    "I was in Spain for a long time"
    "I was at John's house for a long time"

    To me, the second example (I won't be here for a long time) sounds a bit odd. In fact, to me it suggests that you want to say "I won't be back here for a long time" (as in "I won't return"). If you want to say "I won't stay here for long", then I would much prefer "I won't be here for long" or "I won't be here for very long", which both have exactly the same meaning.
    As far as I'm aware, "I won't be here for long" is not especially formal or informal, it is just perfectly normal English.
    Thanks a lot, it's clearer now with these examples. I appreciate your patience and kindness :)
     
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