# Should I say “Quite a long time” or simply just “Quite a long” - in the following context?

What is the appropriate phrase when saying the following sentence?

1) "Quite a long time I have been waiting for her to back"

2) "Quite a long I have been waiting for her to back"

I'm asking this question, because I know about the question "For how long are you here" that is the correct rather that "For how long time are you here"

• You can say "quite a long time" or "quite long", but not "quite a long" without "time". Either way, that phrase feels unnatural at the beginning of the sentence. I'd say "I have been waiting quite a long time for her to get back", or "I've been waiting quite long for her to get back". – nnnnnn May 22 '16 at 6:59

If I may be so bold, I would say neither is correct.

Here is what I hear speakers say.

I have been waiting for her to be back for a long time.

I have been waiting for her to be back for quite a while.

In this context, quite and long have the same meaning and would be redundant next to each other.

I hope this helps.

• I agree that it's more common in speech for the two clauses to be reversed, but I don't agree that quite and long are redundant. In fact, the two together can be used for emphasis, with either "time" or "while": "I have been waiting for her to come back for quite a long time." "I have been waiting for her to come back for quite a long while." (I will say that "quite a while," w/o the "long", is a common and established idiom.) – WendiKidd Sep 25 '15 at 5:43

Certain forms of AdjP occur right at the beginning of the NP, before the indefinite article a:

[31] i. a) [How long a delay] will there be? (=> Here How long is an AdjP and in this AdjP the head adjective is long and modifier is how. The noun phrase where this AdjP occurs is How long a time)
[31] ii. b) He'd chosen [too dark a colour] (=> Here too dark is an AdjP and in this AdjP the head adjective is dark and modifier is too. The noun phrase where this AdjP occurs is too dark a colour)

[32] i. a) It seemed [such a bargain]
[32] ii. b) [What a fool] I was.

One type are AdjPs containing how, as, so, too, this or that as modifier, as in [i]. There are two adjectives that can appear by themselves in this position: such and the exclamative word what, shown in [ii].

Source - A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum

That is why For how long time is incorrect. The correct one is For how long a time.

Quite a long time I have been waiting ....

Quite there is a PREDETERMINER. And hence it comes before the CENTRAL DETERMINER a.

The noun phrase here is - Quite a long time

The structure of this NP is -