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I was taught that if I say "I read a book" or "I watched a film" this means I read and watched the entire thing. How do I convey I read part of a book or watched part of a film? Does "I read a book for half an hour" or "I watched a film for an hour" sound natural to you?

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olive file 673I was taught that if I say "I read a book" or "I watched a film" this means I read and watched the entire thing

Yes, that's what I would mean and expect it to mean.

olive file 673How do I convey I read part of a book or watched part of a film?

I started reading the book / watching the film.

olive file 673 Does "I read a book for half an hour" or "I watched a film for an hour" sound natural to you?

No, not at all.

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What is the correct way to say I read or watched something for a certain amount of time?

olive file 673What is the correct way to say I read or watched something for a certain amount of time?

We would not do that—it is unnatural.

So it is unnatural to say you watched the news for 30 minutes before going to bed? What is a good alternative?

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olive file 673So it is unnatural to say you watched the news for 30 minutes before going to bed?

No—because now you have added a factor and included it in a schedule: before going to bed.