How quickly/rapidly

Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Hello teachers,
I wonder if 'How quickly/rapidly ...?' would work to explain the meaning of 'How soon ...? in the following question?
Peter went to the supermarket at once.
How soon did he go to the supermarket? At once.

On the other hand, would this definition be accurate?
How soon did he go to the supermarket? The question is asking about a period of time.

• Chez

Senior Member
As an explanation, 'quickly/rapidly' don't work because they are talking about speed, whereas 'soon' is, as you say, talking about a period of time.

I would say its meaning was:

How many minutes/hours/days was it before he went to the supermarket?

Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
As an explanation, 'quickly/rapidly' don't work because they are talking about speed, whereas 'soon' is, as you say, talking about a period of time.

I would say its meaning was:

How many minutes/hours/days was it before he went to the supermarket?
Hello Chez,
Thank you for your help. Would the explanation 'How many minutes/hours/days was it before he went to the supermarket?' work, even if the answer is 'at once'?
Doesn't
"How soon" carry the implication that the questioner expects that the event will be in the very near future? If so, 'days' won't work , will it?

TL

Chez

Senior Member
No, but I gave a variety of time periods to show that it is an indefinite amount of time (it is not known at the time of speaking). If you know in advance that the answer is 'at once', you could put 'seconds' in front of minutes, if you wanted.

Anyway, if the sentence was 'How soon did they reply to your application?', then the reply 'It only took them 3 days.' would imply 'a very short period of time'.

Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
No, but I gave a variety of time periods to show that it is an indefinite amount of time (it is not known at the time of speaking). If you know in advance that the answer is 'at once', you could put 'seconds' in front of minutes, if you wanted.

Anyway, if the sentence was 'How soon did they reply to your application?', then the reply 'It only took them 3 days.' would imply 'a very short period of time'.
Hello Chez,
Thank you. Crystal clear now.

TL

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