There was a quiz-posting on Facebook that I wasn't sure to pick the answer:

Choose the more probable!

'Urgh! The lecture __ for three hours and it was super boring.'

A) dragged on

B) lasted

I've done a quick-search on my vocabulary book and found these examples:

This film lasts for three hours.

The meeting went on/dragged on for two hours. (suggests longer than expected or desired)

Now, I still can't see the difference since they both use for. Since the question (above) itself instructed to choose the more probable, is it probably A? It's stronger according to my book. However I'm still thinking, why isn't B? What's the difference?


There's no difference in grammar. Both answers fit the blank grammatically and semantically. The only meaningful difference between the two is that "dragged on" implies that something was boring and unnecessarily long, while "lasted" is neutral and implies nothing beyond the length of the event.

So, your choice of answer here isn't governed by grammar, but by meaning. While both are correct and natural, "dragged on" matches the frustration shown by the "Urgh!" at the beginning of the sentence.


Meaning of "drag on":

(of a process or situation) continue at tedious and unnecessary length.

Meaning of "lasted":

(of a process, activity, or state) continue for a specified period of time.


  • "Drag on" really means that something should be over already but continued overtime, i.e.

    The class was suppose to end already, but the teacher continued the class overtime to finish the last page of the textbook.

Here "continued the class overtime" could be replaced with "dragged on".

  • "Lasted" really means that some event presumed for x amount of time, it doesn't mean that it went overtime, it means that it was the original plan to have x amount of time for this event, i.e.

    The class ended in 30 minutes as planned.

Here "ended in" could be replaced with "lasted for".

  • No, "drag on" does NOT mean it continued longer than the schedule. As the above definition correctly states, it means it was tedious and unnecessarily long. Any lecture that is long and boring can be described as "dragging on", whether it finishes on time or not.
    – gotube
    Oct 3 '21 at 5:06
  • And again, no, to "last" describes the duration of something, regardless of whether it went over schedule or not.
    – gotube
    Oct 3 '21 at 5:08

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