Lesson 31

How long does it take?
A Unique use of the Present Simple

Level: Pre-Intermediate
Lesson contents:
  • The Present Simple.
  • How long for duations of time.
  • Manhattan geography, upper and lower.
  • Preposition review & new vocabulary.
  • How + adjectives, a very different "How long".

Always watch the video several times without subtitles first. Train your ears! Your pronunciation will be much better if you follow this simple rule.

Exercises for this lesson:
How to do the lessons:
  1. Watch the video without subtitles.
  2. Do all the Exercises.
  3. Come back to this page.
  4. Watch the video with English Subtitles. Use the Pause button. People speak fast!

Problems? See general support or ask your question here.

How long does it take?

Watch this video, then click on Exercise 1

Same video with Precise Subtitles:



Like many Real English® clips, this one includes illustrations to make the grammar self-explanatory. The advantages of pictures-in-video become obvious in this clip. The notion of How long does it take? is explained by the video itself.

This lesson presents us with a unique use of the present simple, to talk about the duration of an activity. How long does it take? is contrasted with how + adjective ("How long is the Alaskan Pipeline?" for example), in the second part of this lesson.

Peter is one of the USA's last traditional ferriers (also spelled farrier). He makes horseshoes manually for his own horse and for all the other horses which stroll through Central Park with tourists in the carriages.

I'm not sure why, but this is one of my favorite lessons. Maybe it's because we had a friendly discussion with Peter (the first interviewee), after turning off the camera, and then invited him to lunch, where we all ate a Manhattan specialty, hot pastrami sandwiches with lots of sauerkraut and giant pickles, at a deli on 47th Street.