Quick answer
"For how long" is an adverb which is often translated as "por cuánto tiempo", and "how long" is a phrase which is often translated as "cuánto". Learn more about the difference between "for how long" and "how long" below.
for how long
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (general)
a. por cuánto tiempo
The pizza has been sitting on the counter. I don't know for how long.La pizza se quedó sobre la cubierta. No sé por cuánto tiempo.
b. durante cuánto tiempo
It's supposed to rain tomorrow? For how long?¿Va a llover mañana? ¿Durante cuánto tiempo?
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how long(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (related to time)
a. cuánto
Do you know how long we have to wait for the movie to begin?¿Sabes cuánto tenemos que esperar para que comience la película?
b. cuánto tiempo
How long does the movie last?¿Cuánto tiempo dura la película?
I don't care how long you have to wait!¡No me importa cuánto tiempo tengas que esperar!
2. (related to length)
a. cuánto mide
How long is your surfboard?¿Cuánto mide tu tabla de surf?
You need to check how long the table is before you buy a tablecloth.Tienes que comprobar cuánto mide la mesa antes de comprar un mantel.
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