Scenario: You're calling the taxi to come pick you up. The taxi driver says he can come pick you up soon.

You: How long will it take you to get here?

Taxi driver: It'll take me about about 20 minutes.

My question: can you ask instead "How much time do have before you (can) get here?". Is that idiomatic?

I would greatly appreciate sharing other ways of asking the question!

  • 3
    It's a little strange for me to see that you tried to substitute how long with how much time and then arrived at your sentence, rather than How much time will it take you to get here? Apr 3, 2016 at 20:24
  • 1
    Strictly speaking "how much time" asks for a something of type/unit "time", ie. "10mins", "roughly 1hr" etc. -- not "long", "not much", "infinitely". "how long" allows for both. Of course the one asking cannot strictly know whether the other person will adhere to that, but generally one can guess it from the context. "How long" is thus usually used when not such a specific time is needed/requested/of importance. Cmp. "it takes ages" with "it takes many hours"
    – ljrk
    Apr 3, 2016 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


"How much time do you have" is certainly idiomatic, but it is usually used in a sense of "How much time do you have available, that I may be able to make use of with you?". So it would not be used of journeying time (unless you are planning to have a conversation while the person is travelling).

"How much time will it be before you get here?" is fine, but the idiomatic phrases are "How much time will it take you to get here?" or "How long until you get here?", or perhaps most naturally "How long will you be?"

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