The Difference between “How Far?” & “How Long?” (ESL)

Download: You can download this worksheet here: how-far-how-long-exercises.docx

How to Make Questions with “How Far?” & “How Long?”

We use how far to talk about distance.·      How far is our classroom from the washroom? It’s about 30 metres.

We use how long to talk about the amount of time something takes.

·      How long is the movie? It’s 2 hours.

Remember, when you make a question with a verb other than the be verb, you need to use an auxiliary verb (do/did, have/had, will, are/is, etc). For example:

·      How far do you usually walk? I walk 5 kilometres.  (Present Simple)

·      How long did you wait? I waited 30 minutes. (Past Simple)

·      How far will you drive? (Future Simple)

·      How long have you been living in Canada? (Present Perfect Continuous)

Exercise A. Choose the correct question word – how long or how far.

1. is New York from Los Angeles?

New York is about 2,900 miles from Los Angeles.

2.does she usually spend in traffic?

She usually spends 2 hours in traffic. Melbourne from Paris?

Melbourne is 12,249 miles far from Paris.

4did he play tennis?

He played tennis for 30 minutes. you usually stretch in the morning?

I usually stretch for 10 minutes. the bus stop?

The bus stop is 200 meters away.


1-How far, 2-How long, 3-How far, 4-How long, 5-How long, 6-How far

Exercise B. Make questions to match the answers.

1.A: ? B: I slept for six hours.

How long did you sleep?

2. A: ? B: I have been working at my company for two years.

How long have you been working at your company?

3. A:? B: I rode my bicycle for 5 miles.

How far did you ride your bicycle?

4. A: ? B: My house is 15 kilometres from my work.

How far is your house from your work?

5. A: ? B: Kate waited an hour for the bus.

How long did Kate wait for the bus?

6. A: ? B: The lessons are 20 minutes.

How long are the lessons?

7. A: ? B: I had to stand for 30 minutes.

How long did you have to stand?


How Long for Physical Length

Of course, we can also use How long to talk about the physical length of something, e.g. your hair or a river. How long is the Nile river? How long was the line? In these questions, we are asking about length. This is the regular meaning of the word long.

Questions? Comments? Find a Mistake?

I hope this has helped you understand the difference between how far and how long. If you have a question, please ask it in the comments section below.

-Matthew Barton of (Copyright)


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22 comments on “The Difference between “How Far?” & “How Long?” (ESL)

  1. Too simplistic (Posted on 8-23-2014 at 23:07) Reply

    You need to show the difference between how far and how long when they both refer to distance.

    1. amine (Posted on 1-31-2016 at 13:24) Reply


  2. parminder (Posted on 12-6-2014 at 04:45) Reply

    it is very nice

  3. Dolores Mera (Posted on 1-31-2015 at 17:45) Reply

    is good

  4. Dolores Mera (Posted on 1-31-2015 at 17:48) Reply

    This is good

  5. lain (Posted on 5-18-2015 at 23:51) Reply

    It helped me a lot.

  6. ahammed ali (Posted on 8-19-2015 at 22:00) Reply

    thank you very much. it is really nice n teaches simple way

  7. ali (Posted on 11-9-2015 at 04:53) Reply


  8. aile (Posted on 1-14-2016 at 00:35) Reply

    Thank you so much. It is help me cleverer but it is not pretty precise.

  9. tejal panchal (Posted on 4-14-2016 at 03:27) Reply

    Is good

    1. Jailson Mendes (Posted on 5-24-2016 at 13:49) Reply


    2. Jailson Mendes (Posted on 5-24-2016 at 13:49) Reply

      Good, but dont explain a lot!

  10. marta (Posted on 5-26-2016 at 10:37) Reply

    Very usefull lesson¡¡

  11. MUSA VARFOLAY (Posted on 7-20-2016 at 02:47) Reply


  12. Lal Bakhsh Elahi (Posted on 8-24-2016 at 11:31) Reply

    are we using how far and how Long for measurement?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-24-2016 at 13:43) Reply

      Yes. ‘How far’ measures distance (‘How far is the station from here?’). ‘How long’ measures time (‘How long have you lived there?’) and also length (‘How long is her hair?’). See the ‘Note’ above.

  13. saga (Posted on 10-2-2016 at 06:08) Reply


  14. Ayoub (Posted on 1-10-2017 at 12:05) Reply


  15. Anonymous (Posted on 2-10-2017 at 15:50) Reply

    thanks a lot you’ve been very helpful

  16. Hamid (Posted on 4-26-2017 at 15:37) Reply

    Thank you so much

  17. Ranjit kaur (Posted on 5-30-2017 at 13:14) Reply

    it’s very helpful for me

  18. Anonymous (Posted on 7-8-2017 at 09:50) Reply

    Please put more example about this subject . thenks for your information .

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