How Far? How Long?


If I ask “how far is it to Manchester?” I expect an answer in terms of distance. 50 miles, 100 kilometres or  even 40 leagues. What I don’t want is an answer given in units of time – an hour or two and a half hours.

Responses like this irritate because they don’t give me the information I’ve requested. It is as though I asked someone “How old are you?” and got a reply “Five foot three.” . Accurate probably,  but the wrong information in the wrong units

I suppose I can see why some people use this method. They tell me how long they think it will take me to get to Manchester, or wherever. Or rather, they tell me how long it takes them to get there. Not the same thing at all.  I may be travelling on foot, by bike, by train or bus; the person I ask is likely to be a car-driver who never considers any other form of transport.  Even if both of us are talking about car travel there will be variations, not just how fast or slow the person drives, but the weather, the traffic and other variables. Why can’t people simply give distances in miles and leave you to work out how long a journey will take?




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I am a poet, therefore I am crazy - see Shakespeare "the lunatic, the lover and the poet..." I also write plays and stories and do the press reports for my local WI. I ride a recumbent trike, a Hase Kettwiesel - I love it!

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