What's the difference between the following sentences?

1 How long do we have until lunch?

2 How much time do we have for lunch?

3 How much time do we have to lunch?

4 How long is it to lunch?

  • I assume you meant lunch (midday meal), not launch (initial deployment). It doesn't really affect the grammar, but semantically it would odd to be talking about the time duration of a "launch". Dec 19 '20 at 17:39

OP's example #2 and #3 are "unlikely", but they would both mean How much time can / will we spend having lunch? And although it's not totally unknown, we don't usually use to in contexts like this - it's nearly always until.

But until might be so "under-articulated" that it's just a /t/ and a schwa - which a non-native speaker might interpret as to even if that's not what the actual speaker thought he was saying.


The first is asking for the time period between now and the time of lunch. An answer of an hour would mean you wait an hour for lunch. The fourth is much the same as the first. I would answer "an hour" to both.

The second is asking how long you have to do it in. If you are told ten minutes the "having" means eleven is too long.

The third is much the same as the first - wouldn't normally make that mean how long to complete lunch in.

However if you were to change from lunch the meaning can change.

For example "how long to launch" would be a question about say the take off time of a plane, but "how long to lunch" would normally not mean how long you take to eat.

  • 1
    I hope I haven't erroneously messed up your answer by editing launch to lunch in the question. Dec 19 '20 at 17:41
  • I edited my answer - I think it helps with another case where it makes a difference what you are talking about here - my mistake was helpful in a way.
    – cyborg
    Dec 19 '20 at 17:43

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