Whereas the rules of military service differs from country to country, I was wondering if someone could let me know which one of the following self-made sentences sounds more natural in this sense:

  • How many months do you do your military service in your country?

  • How long is your military service is your country?

  • How many months do you do your military service in your country?

  • How many months is your military service in your country?

I doubt if they are natural. They were what came to my mind to translate into English. How shall I bring it up?

2 Answers 2


Assuming you are asking about required military service, you might ask

How long is military service in your country?
How long is mandatory military service required in your country?

Is the simple way to ask. "Your" is not necessary since it would be understood from context. The first question is general, and the requirement would be understood from surrounding context. The second specifically asks about "required service" which some countries have e.g. Germany and Israel.

Of course, military service may be opened ended, for example in the case of a career officer enlistment might be for decades.

  • How to ask about the number of months @Peter? Where I leave (usually) it is measured by the number of months. Does it work in English too?
    – A-friend
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:37
  • Just replace "How long" with "How many months", if your friend is going into military service you can specifically ask "How many months will your military service be?"
    – Peter
    Jan 16, 2017 at 9:46
  • 2
    You could swap "How long" for "How many months" and it would sound reasonably fine too. I don't think I'd use it as a native speaker & I'm trying to think why :) — I think it's that for lengths of time that I don't know the answer to, I would normally let the answerer choose the appropriate unit. E.g. I might say "How old is your daughter?", if she's quite young, you'd reply in months (6 months, 18 months). If she was 4 though, you'd be unlikely to say '48 months', you'd more naturally say 4 (or 4½, etc.). Jan 16, 2017 at 9:48
  • 1
    @anotherdave +1 Definitely let the answerer add the units if possible, I thought that, but forgot to include it.
    – Peter
    Jan 16, 2017 at 10:01

The word for the compulsory enlistment of people in a military service is conscription.

For example, in Russia in my days in the military, conscription was a 24-month draft, mandatory for all male citizens age 18–27, with a number of exceptions. In 2008 the mandatory term of service was reduced to 12 months.

So, as long as a compulsory military service most of the time is of a limited period of a certain time, I think it would be appropriate to ask about the length of the term of service:

How long is the term of (compulsory) military service in your country?

A longer question I can suggest is

How long are people who enter the military obligated to serve in your country?

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