The difference between for and since can lead to lots of problems and hesitations during natural conversation.
There’s quite a clear rule to know which to use but clear rules don’t always lead to clear conversation. This post will give you lots of examples and will show which tenses to use these two prepositions.
We use for to talk about a period of time.
We use since to talk about a point in time in the past (until now).
Whereas since is mainly used in the present tenses, for is used in all tenses.
Watch the video to see the whole lesson:
As mentioned in the video, we used ‘since’ with a point in time in the past. This can be dates or other time points or the simple past. Here are some examples with audio.
- I haven’t been to Spain since 1999.
- We’ve been doing this since 9am, we should take a rest soon.
- I haven’t played football since I got injured.
- They haven’t talked since they had that argument last week.
- Have you seen Claire since the party?
As we use ‘for’ to talk about a period of time, it can be used in all tenses. The following examples should make this clear:
- I went to Italy for two weeks.
- I’ve been in Italy for two weeks.
- I’m going to Italy for two weeks.
- I think I’ll be in Italy for two weeks.
- I have to go to Italy for two weeks.
- I’ve been studying Italian for two weeks.
Most mistakes are made in the perfect tenses because there are two choices when talking about a period of time that started in the past and continues now.
Here are some examples that use both ‘for’ and ‘since’ to show the difference.
- I haven’t seen him since last Friday.
- I haven’t seen him for a few days.
- I’ve been living here since 2011.
- I’ve been living here for two years.
- We haven’t visited my parents since January.
- We haven’t visited my parents for a few months.
- I’ve been working since this morning.
- I’ve been working for a few hours.
- You’ve only been here since 4pm!
- You’ve only been here for 2 hours!
Practice with our For vs Since Exercise. And leave a comment with some examples!