Are these sentences different when referring to the English implication of the word “take” (duration required to do something until completion)? It seems like saying that one made for dinner for 2 hours is not exactly the same as saying that it took 2 hours to make dinner but I'm not sure if it is necessary to translate the 2 any differently from one another. Thank you!

Она приготовила обед за 2 часа. - She made dinner in 2 hours. / It took her 2 house to make dinner.

Он написал роман за два месяца. - He wrote a novel in 2 months. / It took him 2 months to write a novel.

Они написали эту песню за один вечер. - They wrote that song in one evening. / It took them one evening to write that song.

Я приготовлю нам бутерброды за 5 минут. - I’ll make us sandwiches in 5 min. / It will take me 5 min to make us sandwiches.

2 Answers 2


There's no single way to translate that "take", but you most often use занять, impersonal уйти, or понадобиться.

На приготовление обеда у неё ушло 2 часа.

Написание романа заняло у него 2 месяца.

Чтобы написать эту песню, им понадобился один вечер.

У меня займёт 5 минут приготовить нам бутерброды.

(The syntax in that last one is rather colloquial.)

Generally, though, those aren't very elegant sentences. To stress a long duration, it's more idiomatic to just use the imperfective aspect.

Я полчаса отчищал это пятно.

Or you can make it explicit by qualifying the duration itself, with the adverb всего if it's short or the appropriate form of the adjective целый if it's long.

  • У меня займёт...sounds like a bad translation. And all your понадобится, займёт are formal and rather clumsy in speech. IMHO.
    – V.V.
    Oct 9, 2016 at 16:39
  • @V.V. I've said they're inelegant. But they're still legitimate words you could use. As for займёт+infinitive, I googled it for authenticity beforehand (using likely examples such as сходить туда займёт..., сделать это займёт...), and it is a thing people say, though again, of course, not the best of style by far. Oct 9, 2016 at 16:47
  • and of course потребоваться to boot ))) Oct 9, 2016 at 17:35

They all correspond to the sentence It takes(took,will take)me,him,us,etc.2 hours,minutes...to do something.

Он написал роман за два месяца.Она приготовила обед за два часа--is not an exception. She spent two hours in the kitchen cooking.

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