In a TV show, a character said, "How long before that thing is ready?" I want to know: How is that sentence correct? I mean, if I were to say the same thing I would have said, "How long would it take for that thing to get ready?" I dont know if I am compeletely correct or not but still I never would have said the sentence that the character had said.

Also, please tell me: What are some other ways to say the same thing?

  • 1
    When asking grammar questions, it's useful to use proper spelling. That includes using a capital for the first person [I and not i] and putting in the apostrophes: I don't know.
    – Lambie
    Nov 15, 2016 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Spoken English can have grammar that is not like traditional grammar for written texts or formal spoken texts. Often, in spoken English, their is truncation or shortening:

How long [will it be] before that thing is ready? becomes just leaves out the first verb. It is perfectly acceptable.

Also, "to get ready" is for people: He got ready for work early in the morning. "to be ready" is for people or things. For things, to be ready might apply to having some object repaired: How long [will it be] before that thing [some object] is ready.

  • Or: "How long [will it take] to get that thing ready?" Nov 15, 2016 at 14:21
  • Sure, to get something ready.
    – Lambie
    Nov 15, 2016 at 15:45

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