Hi.
What's the difference between these 2 phrases?
Sample sentences:
1. They didn't work for long.
2. They didn't work for a long time.

My guess is:
Sentence 1 convey a habitual idea: during a certain period of time in the past, like maybe last year, they didn't work for long hours every day.
Sentence 2, on the other hand, means there was a certain period of time that they didn't work, which is long in length.
Did I get it right?
Many thanks in advance.
 
 
Last edited by Robby zhu
Original Post
Robby zhu posted:
What's the difference between these 2 phrases?
Sample sentences:
1. They didn't work for long.
2. They didn't work for a long time.

My guess is:
Sentence 1 convey a habitual idea: during a certain period of time in the past, like maybe last year, they didn't work for long hours every day.
Sentence 2, on the other hand, means there was a certain period of time that they didn't work, which is long in length.

Hi, Robby zhu—Your interpretation of (2) is correct, but (1) does not mean that they didn't work for long hours every day. It expresses that they worked for a short period of time: either the project was short ("They didn't work for long; the job was done before they knew it"), or the period of their employment was short ("They didn't work for long; they were laid off within the year").

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