Is it standard English to write some task takes "until some time later", like:

1a. The work could take until next week.

where a point in time is used, instead of:

1b. The work could take a few days.

, where an amount of time is indicated?

How about these:

2a. The work would need until next week.
2b. The work would need three days.

3a. The work could require until next week.
3b. The work could require three days.


Both "until [future date]" and "a few [unit of time]" are equally common and accepted in my experience.

EDIT (expanded answer for expanded question)

Use "take" or "need" as your verb, not "require". It's more formal and doesn't really fit here. If your formality has ratcheted up to "require" levels, then it would be more appropriate to talk of estimates:

We estimate 3 days.

| improve this answer | |
  • I added four more sentences to my post above. Could you take a look at these too? Thanks! – meatie Oct 9 '15 at 19:46
  • "Work needs time" is awkward. People need time/stuff to perform work. Work may require time or resources, but it doesn't "need" them. "Could require" sounds like a second conditional, and the condition is actually missing. All four are rather unusual. – Victor Bazarov Oct 9 '15 at 20:35
  • Agreed, there are cases where you'd use "work" and "need" together, but in general you're right about "need", @VictorBazarov. OTOH, these are perfectly reasonable/normal: "That's gonna take at least three days." "We're going to need a week to get that done." – G. Ann - SonarSource Team Oct 12 '15 at 11:12

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