I want to know if this is grammatically correct " How long would the conference be for?".

  • It's OK in spoken English or informal writing. – Lambie Apr 20 '16 at 15:56
  • It may be worth noting that there is a fundamental difference between a question such as "How long would the convention be for?" (where the "for" is superfluous to the sense of the sentence, as you can see by repeating the sentence with the "for" omitted: "How long would the convention be?") and a question such as "What are you in prison for?" (where the "for" is essential to the intended meaning of the sentence, as you can see by comparing it to the "for"-less alternative, "What are you in prison?"). In one case, the inclusion of "for" is unnecessary to sense; in the other, it is crucial. – Sven Yargs May 4 '18 at 6:30

Sounds perfectly grammatically correct to me:

Q: Do you have availability for a conference starting June 21?

A: How long would the conference be for?

What kind of "grammatically correct" are you looking for?

  • Was just wondering if this is correct – user3608985 Apr 20 '16 at 15:25

I think it's helpful to rephrase to a statement rather than a question...

1: The movie is two hours
2: The movie is for two hours
3: The movie lasts two hours
4: The movie lasts for two hours

I could just about tolerate #1, but #2 is completely unacceptable to me. I've no strong feeling about whether for should be included in the second pair, but certainly in OP's exact example that would be perfectly acceptable once be is changed to last.

  • If the context is about booking (a room, a hotel, a conference centre), then "The conference is (booked) for three days" seems normal to me, even if the word "booked" is not stated. – Colin Fine Apr 20 '16 at 16:23
  • FWIW, #2 sounds fine to me. It looks slightly odd written down, but spoken, it sounds perfectly normal. "What are your plans tonight?" "Well, the movie is for two hours, then we're having dinner." – Steve Bennett Apr 21 '16 at 3:33
  • @Steve: I guessed there might be a range of opinions on that one, which is why I said unacceptable to me above. But do you at least agree that for is "more acceptable" after lasts than after is? And by implication, that How long is the movie? sounds "better" if you don't tack on for? – FumbleFingers Apr 21 '16 at 13:33
  • I'm not sure. There are shades of meaning, too. "How long is the movie" could apply generically to a film (it has a published running length of X), whereas "How long is the movie for" is definitely about one particular screening. I probably agree with your proposals. Probably. :) – Steve Bennett Apr 21 '16 at 14:15

It should be, "How long will the conference last?" "For," in this case, doesn't refer to anything - if you said (for example) "How long do you need me to hold an object for," for would refer to the person asking you to hold the object. Since the you are not holding the conference for someone, you to do not need to add the word "for" to it.

I don't remember why "be" is the wrong wrong ending as well, someone else can tackle that.

  • I think the "for" is related to a phrasing like "for three days". How long would it be for? It would be for three days. – Steve Bennett Apr 20 '16 at 15:27
  • I partly agree with you, since I avoid whenever possible, ending sentences and clauses with a preposition. "For how long will it be/last" suits my style of speaking rather better. But I disagree with you in that I see no objection to employing for, just its position in the sentence. – WS2 Apr 20 '16 at 15:53
  • When people talk to one another, they often say for. I'm going to Europe on vacation. Response: And how long will that be for? Perfectly fine, perfectly correct in spoken English or informal written English (emails to friends) – Lambie Apr 20 '16 at 15:58
  • 2
    I'm sorry, but this answer is quite wrong. In "How long do you need me to hold an object for", the "for" has nothing whatever to do with a person, and everything to do with the time. – Colin Fine Apr 20 '16 at 16:25
  • 1
    @ColinFine Quite so. Who do you want to hold the event for, would be another matter. – WS2 Apr 20 '16 at 18:49

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