[Grammar] Present Perfect Tense Interrogative

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Japanteacher

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Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum, and would like to start with this:

What is the difference between these two sentences?

How long have you played soccer?
How long have you played soccer for?

I'm referring here to the word "for". Is the latter question correct?

Thank you!
 

philo2009

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Jan 16, 2009
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British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Both are possible, but most speakers would use the former.

Essentially, the issue revolves around the syntactic status of 'how long', which can function both nominally, as in (formal)

[1] For how long have you been with your current employer?
(elliptical for 'for how long a time...')

or adverbially, as in (less formal)

[2] How long has the old guy been waiting there?

Since prepositions governing interrogative NPs can be deferred to sentence-final position, it is naturally also possible to make a sentence such as

How long have you played soccer for?

but, on account of the omissibility of the preposition, 'for' in this case is generally felt to be redundant.
 
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