Can someone explain me the exact meaning of にわたって when used in describing time/ duration? I understand its use for range when we describe space. And I know it can mean something like "over a period of", but I saw it also means prolongation of time. Also, isn't 間 alone for duration? Why do we need にわたって?

So, what is the difference here:

私は 3時間 勉強しました。
私は 3時間にわたって 勉強しました。

Hope you'll understand what I want to say. I'm confused because for one moment I understand it and poof it's gone.

  • Does "spanning" or "extending" help understand it any better?
    – istrasci
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 3:13

1 Answer 1


にわたって and its variations emphasize that the activity covered a long (or longer than expected) period. In English, the nuance is something like this:

I studied for three hours.

I studied for three whole hours.

I feel like にわたって also has somewhat of a formal/written sound to it.

A reference: Learn JLPT N2 Grammar: にわたって (ni watatte)

  • 1
    The second example in that link is 大学入試は一週間にわたって行われます。 and is translated as "The university entrance exams will be held in one week." That seems wrong to me, and even goes against the page's own definition. I would translate it as "...will be held over (a period of) one week."
    – istrasci
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 3:18

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