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or "it would took me 1–2 seconds"?

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Nice to see the en dash used correctly. –  ShreevatsaR Jan 17 '11 at 4:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

"It would take me 1-2 seconds" is correct. It takes the infinitive.

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You might also point out that if this statement were spoken the "-" would be replaced by "to" or "or". –  Robusto Jan 16 '11 at 23:00
    
@Robusto in this case (1–2) I'd recommend "or" over "to" because otherwise one would say "one to two seconds" resulting in two words that follow each other to be pronounced the same. –  rightfold Jan 17 '11 at 12:47
    
@TimeMachine: No, they have different meanings. OK, in this case due to the fact that we're working with whole numbers, they happen to be (sort of) equivalent, but it breaks down when you start saying "1 to 5 seconds" vs "1 or 5 seconds". Strictly speaking, the hyphen is pronounced "to" and that's the rule to follow. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 17 '11 at 14:54
    
(Also, no sane English being pronounces "to" and "two" the same. "To" is a shorter sound, more like "ta" or even just the "t'". "Wunnn tuh toooo.") –  Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 17 '11 at 14:55
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@ghoppe: Pronouncing to as ta in those examples is, in many localities, perfectly normal and would not come across as uneducated or even colloquial. In fact, pronouncing to as too in those cases in such localities would come across as bitingly "posh" and arrogant. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 5 '11 at 20:43
  • Once in the past, it took me one or two seconds.
  • Previously, it has taken me one or two seconds (at most …).
  • So far, it has taken me one or two seconds (and may take longer to complete).
  • Currently, it takes me one or two seconds (every time, to complete).
  • In the future, it will take me one or two seconds.
  • If I had done it yesterday, it would have taken me one or two seconds.
  • If I did it tommorrow, it would take me one or two seconds.
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So, "took" never follows any auxiliary in standard English. –  Colin Fine Jan 17 '11 at 13:04
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not too sure about 'standard' English - but I remember growing up in the north of England with people saying things like "it could have took me forever" –  HorusKol Jan 17 '11 at 22:18

If you are wanting to indicate how long it would have taken you to complete a task that has already been completed:

It took Stephen 10 seconds to get the right answer, but it would have taken me 1 or 2 seconds.

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