"How long have you opened it?", as far as I understand, means pretty much the same as "How long have you been opening it?", that is, "How much time have you already spent trying to open it?" or, in case of repetitive acts of opening, "How much time have you already spent performing repetitive acts of opening it?"

However, what if I want to know about the length of time that has transpired since the time (one single time) of opening something?

The best option that I have on my mind is simply "When did you open it?". However, it's more a question about a point in time rather than a queston about the length of time. The answer could be then something like "On March 3rd, 2019". But what I would need instead would be the length of time from March 3rd, 2019, until now.

So, what would be the most natural way in English to ask what I want to ask here?

2 Answers 2


A few examples:

How much time has it been since you opened it?
How much time has passed since you opened it?
How long has it been since you opened it?

This might be less formal, but you can also say:

How long since you opened it?

One of the comments indicates that in British English, you might also say:

How long have you opened it?

  • Very good examles. Thank you!!!
    – brilliant
    Commented Feb 28 at 6:33
  • I would understand 'How long have you opened it?' to mean the same as 'How long is it since you opened it?' in casual UK conversation. Commented Feb 28 at 8:32
  • That must be a British thing because you won't hear that in American English. I modified the answer to include your comment. Commented Feb 28 at 11:22

I would go in a slightly different direction, without focusing on who performed the opening:

How long has it been open?

If you don't mind a bit of squabble from some old-school purists who will claim that you shouldn't end sentences with a preposition, you could even go for

How long has it been open for?

  • Good suggestions. Thank you! May I ask, is it more American or more British English?
    – brilliant
    Commented Feb 28 at 22:16

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