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What means "The talk needs to be approximately 45 mins to allow for 15 mins of Q&A’s."

Does it mean that the talk needs to be 45 mins and additional 15 mins will be for questions? So the whole thing will take 60 mins.

Or the whole process will take 45 mins - like while talking during that time 15 mins will be taken for questions?

Please clarify. Thanks

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  • Welcome to ELL Stack Exchange. I'm sure you'll be getting lots of advice on writing good questions, which is intended to help you receive good answers. Here's some to start: Context is always helpful when trying to discern meaning. Where did you see this sentence? What talk is it referring to?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 2:20

2 Answers 2

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Definition of "allow for" from Wiktionary:

To take into account when making plans.
The problem is that they didn't allow for the extra centimetre of overlap. So it didn't fit correctly.


The whole time is 60 minutes. If it was 45, it would say

The talk needs to be approximately 45 mins including 15 mins of Q&A’s.

It would help to know the context, but that sentence strongly implies that whoever is giving the talk has been allotted 60 minutes, so the talk needs to be limited to 45 minutes so that there are still at least 15 minutes left for Q&A.

In other words, since you only have 60 minutes, you must limit the talk to allow for Q&A time.

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Welcome to the Stack Exchange community!

The phrase in that context is used to show that time is included in something (so the overall length of the session would be fourty-five minutes.) Here's another example:

The total length of the project, allowing for drying time, should be an hour.

In another context, the phrase could mean that the person it's being told to should take it upon them selves to add time. For example:

The total length of the project should be forty-five to fifty minutes. Allow for drying time.

The person following the instructions in this case should add time to the project's length for the drying process (possibly ten minutes, to make it an hour.)

To summarize, the talk will be 30 minutes, and then 15 for Q&A, which is 45 minutes in total.

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  • I read it completely the opposite way round - which says something for the original sentence: it is completely ambiguous & needs to be re-cast to prevent this confusion. Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 16:49
  • Which sentence, if you don't mind me asking?
    – HarryCBurn
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 16:53
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    the OP's sentence. Could easily be 30+QA or 60-QA. It really doesn't distinguish well to me. I'd have thought 60-QA. Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 17:16
  • Ah, I agree, it seems ambiguous. Perhaps we should abolish the phrase completely? ;)
    – HarryCBurn
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 17:25

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