Japanese Time Duration,
Distance, Length and Quantity -
Free Japanese Lessons: 12

Do you know how to form a sentence to show approximate Japanese time duration?

In this lesson, you will get to learn how to form sentence showing time duration and some particles related to time.

Before going further, you should first look at the section on how to state different Japanese durations for hours, days, weeks, months and years.

Firstly, let's learn about the time taken from point A to point B.

To say how long it takes to go from one place to another place, you should use the following sentence pattern...

PlaceA から PlaceB まで Duration かかります
PlaceA kara PlaceB made Duration kakarimasu

Meaning: It takes Duration to go from PlaceA to PlaceB

You can replace the Duration in the above expression with the durations you have learned before. For example...

  • こうえんからえきまでにじゅっぷんかかります。
    kouen kara eki made nijuppun kakarimasu

    Meaning: It takes 20min to go from the park to the station.

If you want to state only approximate duration, append the suffix ぐらい (gurai) or くらい (kurai) after the duration.

Remember in the previous lesson on Japanese particles where you have learned to replace に (ni) with ごろ (goro) to state the approximate time when performing some actions.

Similarly, you use ぐらい/くらい (gurai/kurai) to state the approximate time durations.

So after adding the suffix ぐらい/くらい (gurai/kurai), the above expression should be...

PlaceA から PlaceB まで Duration [ぐらい/くらい] かかります
PlaceA kara PlaceB made Duration [gurai/kurai] kakarimasu

Meaning: It takes [about] Duration to go from PlaceA to PlaceB

Note: [ ] means the word in the square bracket is optional

Using the previous example...

  • こうえんからえきまでにじゅっぷん ぐらい/くらい かかります。
    kouen kara eki made nijuppun gurai/kurai kakarimasu

    Meaning: It takes about 20min to go from the park to the station.

くらい (kurai) is exactly the same as ぐらい (gurai), but I will stick to ぐらい (gurai) from now onwards.

Question Word for Asking Japanese Time Duration

Japanese Time Duration, Distance, Length and Quantity

To ask how long it takes to go from one place to another, use the question word どのぐらい (dono gurai).

PlaceA から PlaceB まで どのぐらい かかりますか
PlaceA kara PlaceB made dono gurai kakarimasu ka

Meaning: How long it takes to go from PlaceA to PlaceB?

Using an example to show...

  • Question: がっこうからぎんこうまで どのぐらい かかりますか。
    gakkou kara ginkou made dono gurai kakarimasu ka
    Meaning: How long it takes to go from the school to the bank?

    Answer: じゅうごふん ぐらい かかります。
    juugofun gurai kakarimasu
    Meaning: It takes about 15min.

どのぐらい (dono gurai) can also use to ask the length of time something takes. And you can use various Japanese time durations in the answer. For example...

  • Question: どのぐらい にほんごをべんきょうしましたか。
    dono gurai nihongo wo benkyou shimashita ka
    Meaning: How long did you study Japanese?

    Answer: よねんべんきょうしました。
    yonen benkyou shimashita
    Meaning: I studied it for four years.

Other Meanings of ぐらい (gurai)

Besides expressing Japanese time duration, ぐらい (gurai) is also used to express distance, length or quantity. For example...

  • Question: パリまで どのぐらい のきょりですか。
    pari made dono gurai no kyori desu ka
    Meaning: How far is it to Paris? (from Tokyo)

    Answer: きゅうせんななひゃくキロメートルぐらいです。
    kyuusen nanahyaku kirome-toru gurai desu
    Meaning: About 9700 km.
  • ふじさんのたかさは どのぐらい ですか。
    fujisan no takasa wa dono gurai desu ka
    Meaning: What is the height of Fuji mountain? / How high is Fuji mountain?

    Answer: さんぜんななひゃくななじゅうろくメートルです。
    sanzen nanahyaku nanajuu roku me-toru desu
    Meaning: 3776 meters. 
  • あなたのがっこうのせいとすうは どのぐらい ですか。
    anata no gakkou no seitosuu wa dono gurai desu ka
    Meaning: How many students are there in your school?

    Answer: はっぴゃくにんぐらいいます。
    happyaku nin gurai imasu
    Meaning: About 800 people.

So long if you want to state the approximate number of certain thing, you can append the suffix ぐらい (gurai) after the number.

It does not limited to only Japanese time duration. For example, you can say that your mother is around 50 years old by saying...

  • ごじゅっさいぐらいです。
    gojussai gurai desu
    Meaning: Around 50 years old.

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