How would one express a range of numbers regarding an action?

Example: I usually study anywhere between 2 to 4 hours a day.

Would the からーまで grammar structure be appropriate here?


This is my attempt at it, but something feels off.


4 Answers 4


It is usual to say AからB without まで when you use a range in place of a number, and you repeat units. Therefore, “for two to four hours” is 2時間から4時間. 2時間[乃至]{ないし}4時間 is a very formal way to state the same thing, as ssb stated.

Your sentence has a few other incorrect or unnatural points.

  • As oldergod stated, the usage of を is incorrect. The duration of an action does not take any case particle.
  • It is awkward to mix kanji numerals and arabic numerals apparently without reason.
  • This is subtle, but I feel that it is more natural to place 普段 at the beginning of the sentence, because 1日に2時間から4時間 is a single meaningful unit.

The resulting translation:

I usually study for two to four hours a day.

(It is strange to say 2時間から4時間まで here, but I am not sure why. I hope that someone can clarify the difference between AからB and AからBまで.)


There is an expression 乃至 (ないし) which carries the meaning of "from ~ to ~" or "between ~ and ~", however it is very formal. It may not be appropriate in most casual situations but it does carry that meaning.


You miss a 時間 in 2時間から4時間まで.
You don't need the .
You should add a or after 普段.

  • 3
    2、4時間 doesn't sound natural to me... This construction is usually used with successive numbers, like [2、3時間]{にさんじかん} or [3、4時間]{さんよじかん}
    – dainichi
    Oct 18, 2012 at 2:02
  • @dainichi I was thinking the same thing. I was not sure but did not ask a native.
    – oldergod
    Oct 18, 2012 at 3:44
  • 1
    2,4時間 would mean either 2 or 4 hours a day and nothing else.
    – paullb
    Oct 18, 2012 at 5:53

I was actually thinking about this a few days ago. They actually don't say anything in between, they just say "二 四 時間" (ni yon ji kan). There is a slight pause between ni and yon, but almost undetectable.

In English, sometimes we will throw in an "or" but not always, think about the movie "Mr. Mom" when he said "45, 46, whatever it takes". Same thing here.

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