Does the verb "complete" has a duration?

For example, I could say: "I swim for 3 hours" - the verb "swim" has a duration of 3 hours - from when I start swimming to when I stop swimming, it is 3 hours.

But, can I say the same for the verb "complete"? - "I complete for 3 hours"?


  • "Does it have a duration?" No, it doesn't. Your sentence makes no sense, because (a) you don't say what is being completed, and (b) something becomes complete at a point in time, not over a period. However, you could say "I worked for three hours to complete the task" when the work ended with the task being finished. Dec 8, 2022 at 15:03
  • I think there might be some jargon sense of "complete" that's intransitive but usually it is transitive; you don't indicate what you mean. "I completed it over three hours" or "I completed it in three hours" sound OK. "I completed it for three hours" sounds unlikely but not necessarily ungrammatical.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:50
  • [correction: does x have etc.] No verb has "duration".
    – Lambie
    Dec 8, 2022 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


Your sentence is bad because "complete" is a transitive verb, which means it requires a direct object, but you don't have one. I'll answer the question as if you mean in general, is it possible to use "continue" with a time span like "for three hours".

Yes, it's possible.

I completed job applications for three hours.

This means for three hours I did the repeated action of completing several job applications.

But if you're "completing" one thing for three hours, then it doesn't make sense.

I completed my homework for three hours.


Side note: It should be "have". "Does it have ..." not "Does it has ..."

A verb doesn't really have a duration. A sentence can attach a duration to an action. Like, "I read poetry for three hours."

As gotube says, it doesn't really make sense to say you completed something for a period of time. Normally we understand completion to refer to the instant when the task is done. "I completed the job at 3:15 on Thursday."

I've never heard someone say, "I completed the job for three hours." Again, as gotube says, you could talk about completing multiple tasks for a period of time. Like, "I completed household chores for three hours." If you want to say how much time you spent getting the job done, you could say, "I spent three hours completing the job" or "The process of completing the job took me three hours".

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