Who can tell me what the difference is between the meaning of the following?

She was in labour for 3 hours.

She went into labour.

  • 3
    The difference is in the implied current state. The first implies that she was in labour for 3 hours but is no longer in labour now. The second just says that her pregnancy entered the "labour" phase and unless more news is available, she's likely still in labour.
    – Jim
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:37
  • Once again, the comment answer strikes xD
    – MMJZ
    Mar 26, 2014 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


"She went into labour.":

  • she started giving birth (generally means her waters broke or she otherwise started experiencing labour pains)
  • we don't know whether she is still in labour now or not
  • we're focusing on the moment the labour started (moment in time, not duration)

"She was in labour for 3 hours.":

  • 3 hours passed from the moment she went into labour to the moment the baby was born
  • we're focusing on the length of the labour (duration, not moment in time)

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