I do not figure out why I should choose one to another. They seem to have the same meaning.

Although this month's sales shown a improvement on last month's, ........................... things are not looking too bright.

a. In the long run

b. In the long term

Definitions are from Oxford Dictionary.

enter image description here

  • What does a dictionary search tell you, especially about long-term?
    – Mick
    Feb 1, 2017 at 20:12
  • @Mick Have you seen the definitions
    – Mrt
    Feb 1, 2017 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


Good one! I suspect the dictionary definitions really don't give much information about the nuance of each of these.

"In the long term" is the more literal of the two. It means what it says, "over a long(er) period of time." This varies with context, and can mean years, months, or weeks, whatever feels like a "long" period of time. For example:

I know you decided to major in Philosophy, but what are your long-term plans for getting a job once you graduate?

Right now the start-up makes money off of microtransactions, but the long-term business strategy is to sell off the company.

Over the long term, real estate can be a better investment than stocks or mutual funds.

"The long run" is a more figurative phrase, that means "at some point in the future", or, "after some significant amount of time". You would use this phrase to project some kind of future outcome, or contrast something that might not be true today with what may be true later:

I know a Philosophy degree might not seem very marketable, but in the long run, the kind of rigorous logic required makes me very competitive for all kinds of technical jobs.

The start-up is making good money off of microtransactions, but in the long run it isn't a viable strategy -- the total revenue from this is much less than the owners would receive if they sell to an investor.

In the long run, real estate tends to out-perform stocks or mutual funds.

Unfortunately these phrases are still similar enough that you can use either in your example sentence, although the nuance changes depending which you use. If I had to pick one, I'd go with "Over the long term", though.


Long term planning will increase your chances of meeting your goals in the long run.

Long term refers to the scope of the action; in the long run refers to the point when your results will manifest.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .