The Spanish preposition durante has roughly the same meaning as the English "during" and is thus used in indicating what happens in durations of time. However, it is not used in exactly the same way as its English equivalent, and it is often better translated by the preposition "for" rather than by "during."
Durante is used most similarly to "during" when it takes a singular object:
- Durante febrero, las condiciones de sequía empeoraron. During February, drought conditions got worse.
- El nivel del mar ha subido entre 10 y 20 cm durante el siglo XX. The sea level rose between 10 and 20 centimeters during the 20th century.
- Se recomienda la utilización de gafas del sol durante el tiempo del tratamiento. The use of sunglasses is recommended during the time of treatment.
Unlike the English word, durante is freely used with plural periods of time:
- Durante años ha ocupado la atención de nuestros medios de noticias. For years it has had the attention of our news media.
- Mantenerse en esta posición durante cuatro segundos. Stay in this position for four seconds.
- Durante muchos siglos los antisemitas odiaban la religión de los judíos. For many centuries, anti-Semites hated the Jewish religion.
When speaking of past events, the preterite progressive verb form (the progressive form using the preterite of estar) is used to indicate that something happened during the entire period of time. Thus "Estuve estudiando durante los tres meses" would be used to say, "I studied for the full three months." But "Estudié durante los tres meses" would mean only that I studied at some point during the three months.