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How to ask a question using "displaced" when an article is displaced some distance?

Is it "how long was it displaced?" or "how far was it displaced?"

  • far, not long. Far relates to distance, long of course to length. We are dealing with distance in this case. – Kris Dec 15 '13 at 11:55
  • "How long" is clearly asking about time, not distance. – ЯegDwight Dec 15 '13 at 15:30
  • “How long” sounds like it is talking about time. However, “How long was it stretched?” is ambiguous, and I can’t think of a more natural way of asking “To what length was it stretched?” Similarly, “How long was this road before the city expanded?” – Scott Dec 15 '13 at 21:53
  • You're using the word, displaced, to mean that something was "lost" because it was not in its usual position. It's more often used to talk about "displaced people", people who no longer have a home or a country to go back to. – Mari-Lou A Dec 15 '13 at 21:55
  • The most natural way of asking how far something was is to say: "How far away was it displaced? or "How far away were they displaced? – Mari-Lou A Dec 15 '13 at 22:00
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"How far" will ask about distance. "How long" will ask about time.

"How far was this displaced?"
"By about ten meters. It was by the wall, and now it's in the middle of the room."

"How long was this displaced?"
"For about four days. It was moved by a forklift last monday morning."

Note "displaced" usually means "placed at a wrong location". e.g. the object was at the right place, and then was moved somewhere else, where it didn't belong. For normal movement you'd use "moved". (also, the comment about "how far away" - this is about distance from the origin, while your question asks about total travel distance. Say, the crate was moved three times, through all corners of a square room 10x10m size, starting from the corner where it was supposed to be left unmoved. It was displaced by a total of 30m, to a location 10m away.)

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