I interpreted this as "How long have we been waiting" because without the "als" wouldn't it be "How long are we waiting". But my answer was marked wrong.
Except that it's not als, it is al which means already. How long have we been waiting already? I'd say that's why your answer came up wrong.
How long are we waiting already
was rejected. I think most English speakers would paraphrase "How long are we waiting" as a request to the others who are waiting for what amount of time we should all continue to wait. But adding "already" to the end of that sentence turns it into a question of how long we have been waiting and implies we should set some limit. Perhaps it may be a bit regional (my family are Scots but I live in Canada) but I only know the English I know.
I have to say, the above answer I gave was not a very good one and didn't really address the question.
I think this can be translated as: How long have we been waiting? How long have we been waiting for? or How long have we been waiting already? If you think that your answer (How long have we been waiting?) should be accepted, you should report it.
I think the best translation is probably: How long have we been waiting for? because the Dutch use 'al' like 'for.' Ik ben al drie dagen aan het wachten op mijn pakket. I've been waiting for my package for three days.
I also don't know exactly what the nuance is between "Hoelang wachten we al?" and "Hoelang zijn we al aan het wachten?" But I think it's more common to say, "Hoelang wachten we al?"
I would have to know more precisely what you mean by "How long are we waiting?" How long are we going to wait?? How long are we willing to wait?? How long should we keep waiting??
I don't think "Hoelang zijn we aan het wachten?" (without 'al' or 'nu al') is something you're going to hear in Dutch.
So I have seen, Dutch using the "present simple" to discuss what English would place in the "future tense" . ie: Onze bruiloft "wordt" een groot feest! Our wedding "will be" a big party
Is this an example of Dutch using the "present simple" to discuss what English would place in the "present perfect"?
Ik tennis al vanaf mijn tiende jaar. I've been playing tennis since I was ten.
Ik ben al twee jaar Nederlands aan het leren. I've been learning/studying Dutch for two years now.
I used to call the English equivalent 'past progressive' which I know is wrong; it's called present perfect progressive or present perfect continuous.
Glad to help, Kayla! Honestly, I'm not sure how I would translate "Onze bruiloft wordt een groot feest." I would probably translate that as: "We're going to have a big wedding reception." In English, we seem to have a dozen ways to express what the Dutch express with a single word: feest. I'm going to ask one of my Dutch tutors and see what they think. — Bruce
OK, so I checked with one of my Dutch tutors and it's not so simple. It's kind of a cultural thing what you call these things.
The party that you have later in the evening after the wedding, at another location, that is usually less formal, where you have dinner, drinks, a live band or other music, etc. with close friends and family, some people call this a wedding "after party" (but I personally would just call that a "big reception.") In any case, this is generally what is meant in the Netherlands by "een groot feest" in relation to a wedding.
As opposed to a small reception party that you have immediately after the wedding ceremony, usually in the same building, with hors d'oeuvres and punch and what-have you for the general people who had just attended the wedding ceremony to come through, and then they go home. This is what is generally meant by "een bruiloftsreceptie."
So I would probably still translate "Onze bruiloft wordt een groot feest" as: "We're going to have a big wedding reception" or "a big wedding celebration." What would you call it?
But we also use present simple in English for things that are happening in the future (when plans are made):
The plane leaves tomorrow morning.
Classes start at 6 pm on Tuesday.
Why isnt is "hoelang waren we al aan het wachten"?
The given sentence doesnt have any past tensey words
Because a) you're trying to apply English grammar to Dutch, which doesn't apply and b) the English translation isn't past tense, but present perfect continuous.
Where the English use present perfect continuous: we have been waiting,
the Dutch mainly use the simple present: we wachten (we wait) or the present 'aan het' continuous: we zijn aan het wachten (we are waiting).
By the way, I think 'al' can be translated here as 'for' or 'already' or not translated at all:
How long have we been waiting? How long have we been waiting for? How long have we been waiting already?
A couple of ways you can say this in Dutch are:
Hoelang wachten we al?
Hoelang zijn we al aan het wachten?
Here are a few examples, taken from Twitter:
Jullie weten niet hoelang ik hierop aan het wachten ben.
You (all) have no idea how long I've been waiting for this.
Hoelang duurt die id verificatie? Ik ben nu al 3 dagen aan het wachten. Ik hoop dat het een beetje opschiet.
How long is that ID verification going to take? I've been waiting for 3 days now. I hope things hurry up a bit.
Al 8 weken aan het wachten op reactie van duo. Enige wat zij intussen sturen zijn rekeningen. Hoelang nog?
Been waiting for 8 weeks for a response from DUO [Office of Student Financial Aid]. Only thing they send in the meantime are bills. How much longer do I have to wait?
Past 'aan het' continuous is 'we waren aan het wachten' (we were waiting), but can also be translated as 'we had been waiting,' depending on the context.
Here are a couple of examples, also taken from Twitter:
Ik wil even melden dat als om 9:00 de ticketsale begint iedereen van de wachtrij random wordt gekozen, dus het maakt niet echt uit hoelang je aan het wachten was voor 9:00.
I just want to let you know that when ticket sales begin at 9:00, everyone is chosen randomly from the queue, so it doesn't really matter how long you had been waiting before 9:00.
Hij was zo schattig. Hij vroeg dus van hoelang ze al aan het wachten waren en waarom ze geen handschoenen droegen en toen ging die ze allemaal knuffelen omdat het zo koud was.
He was so cute. Then he asked how long they had been waiting for and why they weren't wearing any gloves and then he started hugging them all because it was so cold.