A French national suggests that DURANT emphasizes the such and such occurs/occurred from the very beginning of the time interval to the very end, while PENDANT does not. This seems to be the difference between "I spent the entire week doing such and such" versus "I did such and such during the week."
If that it is the case, there may be value in adding that to the lesson. I have noticed BTW that DURANT appears in conversations much less that PENDANT, perhaps because of the nuance cited above.
"Durant" is far more formal than "pendant" is. That's why pendant is far more used in everyday conversation for example.
They are synonyms nowadays with very little distinction (confirming what Chris's French native speakers have said about it). Here is an explanation about the distinction that you can find between the two: durant-Larousse.
I hope this is useful.
Bonne journée !
That's an interesting notion, which I don't have heard put forth before. Several native speakers, when pressed for a difference, couldn't really find one. In any case, I don't think you'll go far astray when translating both of them by "during" or "for".
There is, however, one difference between "pendant" and "durant": "durant" can also be put at the end of a sentence such as:
Thomas a visité sa mère des années durant. -- Thomas visited his mother for years.
And then there is also "au cours de...":
Thomas a visité sa mère au cours des années. -- Thomas visited his mother over the years.
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