This question suggested the verb consumere to represent time spent/taken. I wonder what would be the appropriate way to ask "how long does something take?". For some reason "quot/quotus/quam tempus hic consumit?" feels wrong for me. (Please tell me, if it fine to use them.)

One option to avoid the 'problem' is simply by asking "when something is going to happen?" — is that the only way to handle this in Latin? Or you would suggest another way to phrase that question?

  • 1
    Have you seen the question "How to phrase “it took two hours”?"? If that answers your question, we can mark this as a duplicate so as to link the two. If not, maybe you could link to that and mention what you learned and what you have yet to learn. (We most certainly have not exhausted the topic. I just wanted to make sure you've seen the older question. Whatever you decide, there's no reason to delete this good question.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 23, 2019 at 21:26
  • Gratias tibi. I haven't seen that question (though I looked for the suggested questions SE offered - maybe it wasn't there or I just missed it). Anyway, it indeed answers my question at least partially. We can mark this as duplicate. My only doubt is how to phrase the question "how much time does it take"
    – d_e
    Nov 23, 2019 at 21:37
  • Now I'm thinking with respect to the question, that we can simply use when to ask when something is going to happen. instead of asking how much time.
    – d_e
    Nov 23, 2019 at 21:47
  • I didn't see it in related questions either, I just happened to vaguely remember it. Asking how to phrase "how much time does it take" would be nice, and not something easy to find in the usual sources. It's up to you whether you want to edit this to that direction or let this be marked duplicate and ask a separate one.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 23, 2019 at 22:13
  • 1
    It's great! (I'd vote up if I hadn't already.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 24, 2019 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


"How much time does it take?" = "How long does it take?" = "How long is required?"; for "how long" use "quamdiu". (There are many attestations of this use: "glosbe.com/la/en/quamdiu"; e.g. "quamdiu apud eam monisti?" = "How long did you spend at her place?"; "nescio quamdiu" = "I don't know how long".)

Giving: "quamdiu desideratur?" = "How long is needed/ wanted/ required?"


I have a couple of suggestions. None of them is a perfect literal counterpart, but you should be able to navigate a lot of situations with these ideas.

  • Quanti temporis est?
    Of how much time is it?
    (Genitive of quality.)

  • Quantum temporis sumet?
    How much time will it consume?

  • Quantum temporis sumam id faciens?
    How much time will I spend doing it?
    (This is largely based on the question How to phrase “it took two hours”?.)

  • Quantis horis perficitur?
    In how many hours is it completed?
    (The ablative of measure indicates how long something takes, but it's easier to use in an answer than a question.)

  • Quando finiemus?
    When will we finish?
    (If you focus on the end as an event and not the duration of the work, phrasing can get simpler if the change of meaning is not too much.)

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