Exploring Vietnamese: Understanding “Bao lâu”

Welcome to SFF Tiếng Việt – Southern Accent Vietnamese for Foreigners!

In today’s lesson, we delve into the Vietnamese phrase “Bao lâu,” which translates to “How long” in English. This phrase is a crucial aspect of Vietnamese grammar and is used extensively in conversations to inquire about durations of time.

Understanding “Bao lâu”

Firstly, let’s break down the usage of “Bao lâu” with an example conversation:

Hà: “Hey Mậu, how long have you been studying in Saigon?”

Mậu: “I’ve been studying here for 3 years. How much longer will you continue studying here? Do you plan to return to your hometown?”

Hà: “I have one more year of study left. After that, I’ll return to my hometown. Is your hometown far? How long does it take to travel from here to there?”

In this conversation, “Bao lâu” is used to inquire about the duration of various activities and events. It can refer to the past, present, or future, depending on the context.

  • “Bao lâu rồi” refers to how long something has been going on or how much time has passed since a particular event occurred.
  • “Bao lâu nữa” is used to ask how much longer something will continue or how much time remains until a future event.

Practical Usage Examples

Let’s explore some practical examples of “Bao lâu” usage:

  • Bạn học tiếng Việt bao lâu rồi? (How long have you been learning Vietnamese?)
  • Bạn sống ở Việt Nam bao lâu rồi? (How long have you been living in Vietnam?)
  • Bạn ở Sài Gòn bao lâu nữa? (How much longer will you stay in Saigon?)
  • Anh đã ở Hàn Quốc bao lâu? (How long have you been in Korea?)
  • Từ nhà em tới công ty đi bằng xe máy mất bao lâu? (How long does it take to travel from your house to the office by motorbike?)


“Bao lâu” is a versatile phrase in Vietnamese that allows speakers to inquire about durations of time in various contexts. Whether discussing past experiences, present situations, or future plans, mastering the usage of “Bao lâu” is essential for effective communication in Vietnamese.

We hope you found this exploration of “Bao lâu” insightful and helpful for your Vietnamese language journey!


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