On an insert that came with my thermos, one part of the English side says:

Keeps tea hot for up to 6 hours.

and the French side says:

Garde le thé chaud jusqu'à 6 heures durant.

I'm unsure what the word "durant" does. Would the sentence have a different meaning (or be ungrammatical) if the word "durant" was removed from the sentence?

  • Best translated "for (durant) up to (jusqu'à) six hours". Why it can move to the end is an interesting question... I suppose you could replace it with English "in duration" for a similar syntax. – Luke Sawczak Apr 10 at 14:06
  • Good question. Recently I've wondered the same thing. Pity no one seems to have an explanation. – justerman Apr 24 at 19:03

In general, the meaning would be different, or at least ambiguous:

...jusqu'à six heures: until six o'clock.

...jusqu'à six heures durant: for up to six hours.

As commented, it wouldn't make sense for a thermos documentation to specify a precise hour of the day until when tea is kept warm inside it so the meaning of the sentence without durant would be understood exactly like the longer one.

A different context might make distinct meanings more likely :

Il a dormi jusqu'à dix heures. He slept until 10 o'clock.

Il à dormi jusqu'à dix heures durant. He slept for up to 10 hours (in a row).

Note that the English during evolved from the French durant, keeping the same meaning.

Durant is formal in French so we usually prefer pendant but the latter can't be postfixed :

Durant six heures. ✓
Pendant six heures. ✓
Six heures durant. ✓
Six heures pendant.

  • 1
    That's the right answer but I'd note that "jusqu'à [duration] durant" feels a bit wrong. At least to my native ear. I'd have expect "garde le thé chaud 6 heures durant" or "garde le thé chaud jusqu'à 6 heures" (even if the second one could be ambiguous, cause seriously, who would be confused?). – Jeffrey Apr 10 at 19:49
  • @Jeffrey Yes, the ambiguity is more theoretical than real here. An issue is we usually avoid to write Garde le thé chaud jusqu'à pendant six heures although it is common in spoken French. A solution can be Garde le thé chaud pour une durée allant jusqu'à six heures, but it's a little verbose. – jlliagre Apr 10 at 20:05
  • "close to" as in "is a literal translation" – njzk2 Apr 10 at 21:59
  • On the side of a thermos there is no ambiguity as the label can never mean "until 6 o'clock", however – njzk2 Apr 10 at 22:01

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