My friend is cooking food. I asked her if it's already ready and she said that it's not ready yet. Now I want to know how much time we have to wait until it'll be ready. What are the common ways to ask it?

Assuming my suggestions below are correct, are there more common choices?

1) How long it's going to take until it'll be ready?

2) How much time remain / left until it'll be ready?

  • 3
    The most common form is also the simplest: How long until/before it's ready? All your optional extra words are completely unnecessary, quite apart from the fact that you haven't got the syntax quite right in either of your suggestions. Sep 22, 2019 at 17:43
  • Thank you. Could you explain please what's wrong with the syntax in my two examples and make me smarter?:) Sep 22, 2019 at 17:55
  • 1
    How long is it going to take until it is ready? is more natural for the first. For the second, How much time remains / is left until it it is ready? is better. It's syntactically "valid" to use will be ready in the second (although perhaps not the first), but in practice if I heard will be in such contexts my first thought would be "non-native speaker making a logical but non-idiomatic translation from his native verb forms". Native Anglophones have a pretty strong preference for simple tenses (especially, present tense). Sep 22, 2019 at 18:10
  • Thank you. I learnt something new today:) Sep 22, 2019 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


In the comments, @FumbleFingers highlighted some changes needed to your examples.

  • No: 1. How long {it's} going to take until {it'll} be ready?
  • ✔️ Yes: 1. How long is it going to take until it is ready?

Note that it's -- "it is" -- needs to be inverted to "is it", because it's a question (see more at this article).

  • No: 2. How much time remain / left until it'll be ready?
  • ✔️ Yes: 2. How much time is left until it is ready?
  • ✔️ Yes: 2. How much time remains until it is ready?

More suggestions

You could replace "it" with the food, lunch, or dinner.

  • ✔️ Yes: 3. How long before the food is ready?

  • ✔️ Yes: 4. When can we eat?

To this they may say something like "in 15 minutes". This seems very informal to me.

  • ✔️ Yes: 5. When will the food be ready?

Again, seems very very informal.

  • ✔️ Yes: 6. I am starving. How much longer?

  • ✔️ Yes: 7. How long before we can eat?

  • 😕 Awkward: 8. How long before we can dine?

Eat is fine. Notice that the verb "dine" isn't used this way in conversational English.

  • @whiskeychief Thanks very much for the wonderful edit and improvement. You are right about "dine" not being common in speech. When I was writing no. 8, I was imagining that I had been invited to my really pretty female friend's house for dinner. And the question with "dine" in it was asked with a flirtatious tone and purpose. I got carried away.
    – AIQ
    Sep 26, 2019 at 16:56

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