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I want to say something "I can work 2 hours [?] without having to reboot", and want to emphasise the two hours are not a total of several occasions I worked. My initial thought was "2 hours in a row", but I'm not convinced. What about :

2 hours in one sitting

2 consecutive hours (sounds a little heavy and formal)

2 hours at once

2 full hours

Which one are correct and why ?

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  • 4
    "two hours straight" is one slightly colloquial option
    – Andrew
    Dec 2 '16 at 14:35
  • That context suggests the two hours would be continuous. In cases like that, it would be more likely to emphasize the two hours are not continuous if that were the case.
    – eques
    Dec 2 '16 at 15:55
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As an American speaker, I would use the phrase "two hours straight" for this meaning.

"Two full hours" or "two whole hours" would work too, but they are just a little bit more ambiguous.

"Consecutive" would work, but it sounds too formal. I think "in one sitting" usually refers to what you are doing, so like, "I ate two pies in one sitting" not "I ate pies for two hours in one sitting".

And as mentioned in the comments, "two hours at once" is pretty much impossible.

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"2 consecutive hours" would probably be the best choice from that list, in my opinion, and yes, it would be a formal way of getting the point across. And options 3 and 4 don't really convey the idea of working for two hours without interruption without rebooting.

Suggested alternatives would be:

  • "I can work 2 hours continuously without having to reboot"
  • "I can work 2 hours nonstop without having to reboot"
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  • "Two hours at once" doesn't convey the idea of no interruption ? Is it because it's just not correct ? I feel it means exactly that (I agree for "two full hours" though) Dec 2 '16 at 14:47
  • "Two hours at once" is semantically impossible.
    – Matt Ellen
    Dec 2 '16 at 14:49
  • "2 hours in one sitting", "2 consecutive hours", and "2 full hours" are definitely idiomatic, just not the most natural way to express this. "2 hours at once" doesn't much make sense, though.
    – Andrew
    Dec 2 '16 at 14:49
  • 'at once' in this context to me means simultaneously. One could possibly complete two tasks at once. But working two hours at once would be impossible :)
    – mike
    Dec 2 '16 at 14:50
  • @Andrew - You are correct - I should have clarified that it didn't work well within the context of the OP's statement. Will update my answer accordingly.
    – mike
    Dec 2 '16 at 14:55
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You could say something like, "I can work 2 hours at a go" or "I can work 2 straight hours without rest".

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