For vs Since: Finally Learn How to Use Them

For vs Since: Finally Learn How to Use Them

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:

The Video

Since in the Perfect Tenses

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?

For in All Tenses

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.

Common Mistakes

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!

should could would have

Should Have, Would Have, Could Have

This lesson will look at “should have,” “would have,” and “could have,” focusing on the contractions, relaxed pronunciation, and how to use these constructions.

We’ll start with a video from Beverley Knight, called, “Shoulda Woulda Coulda.” This song is all about regret and doing wrong things in past relationships. Pay attention to the chorus (starts @ 1:02).

The Song

The above video is a great example of how to use, “should have,” “would have,” and “could have.” Here are the lyrics from the chorus:

And how I wish I, wish I’d done a little bit more,
Now, Shoulda woulda coulda means I’m out of time,
Shoulda woulda coulda can’t change your mind,
And I wonder, wonder what I’m gonna do,
Shoulda woulda coulda are the last words of a fool.

“Shoulda,” “woulda,” and “coulda” are examples of relaxed pronunciation. Relaxed pronunciation occurs during spoken English when syllables are slurred together. It is especially common when words are contracted, for example:

  • Should have = should’ve = shoulda
  • Would have = would’ve = woulda
  • Could have = could’ve = coulda

The relaxed pronunciations are only used when talking and shouldn’t be written. Another mistake is writing “should of,” “would of,” and “could of.” This is wrong!

General Meaning

The song is about someone who is no longer with their boyfriend/girlfriend and is thinking about the past with regret. There were things that she should have done, could have done, and would have done, but didn’t.

She says that thinking about the past in this way is foolish because you can’t change what you have already done.

We also see constructions using, “I wish” –  “I wish I had done more” which again talks about the past (see more about wish here). Saying things like, “I should have treated him/her better” is a way to give yourself advice for the past and “I could have spent more time with him” is talking about the options you had available.

Should Have

“I should have paid more attention to her.”

This means that you are giving yourself late advice; advice for a past action that is over. It usually involves regret. Here are some more examples:

  • “I should’ve studied history instead of economics” – (you regret studying economics and the better option was to study history.)
  • “You should’ve listened to me” – (I was saying something important but you didn’t listen; I think you were wrong to do that.)
  • “Messi should’ve passed the ball instead of shooting” – (Messi didn’t pass the ball but that was the best option available.)

Could Have

“I could have bought her flowers.”

This is saying that you had the option to more in the past, but you didn’t. Should have is different because it is used when talking about the best option at that time.

  • I suppose we could’ve spent more on advertising. (We had the option.)
  • They could’ve told us earlier. (They had the option.)
  • Why did you take the bus? You could’ve taken the train. (There was a different option available.)

Could have is also used to talk about a possibility in the past (might have is more common).

  • They’re late! -> They could have got lost (maybe, maybe not). [notice the coulda in the audio]

“Could have” is also used in the third conditional

  • Barcelona could’ve scored if Messi had passed the ball.

Would Have

“I would have bought her flowers if…”

The second clause is an imaginary outcome based on the first (imaginary) clause. It is imaginary because it didn’t happen, but we’re being creative and thinking about different outcomes. This is the third conditional. Here are some more examples:

  • If I had studied harder, I would’ve passed the test.
  • If I had been there, I would’ve said something to him.
  • I woulda finished it, if I had more time (NOTE – “If I had had” usually shortens to “If I had.”) [notice the woulda in the audio]

As mentioned before, we can also use could instead of would. Could is weaker in that it says that it was an option or possibility, while would makes it sound more certain.


Use: Should Have, Would Have, and Could Have to complete the sentences.


1: I ___________ done it earlier (advice).

2. If I had more time, I __________ done it (definitely).

3. I ___________ (negative) done that if I were you.

4. I feel such an idiot for not finishing it. I __________ started earlier (advice).

5. I’m not sure why I didn’t win. Maybe I ___________ been more aggressive at the start (option).

6. You __________ (negative) said that. It was embarrassing.

7. We __________ (negative) done any better.

8. She __________ (negative) come if she had known.


1. should have

2. would have

3. wouldn’t have

4. should have

5. could have

6. shouldn’t have

7. couldn’t have

8. wouldn’t have


Do you have any regrets about past relationships?

Is there anything you should have, could have, or would have done?

Updated: 17/12/13

Expensive City

Topic: Most Expensive Cities for Tourists


I wasn’t staying in 4 star hotels in Rio!

How much does a dinner for two with a bottle of wine cost at an averaged price restaurant cost where you live? Do you normally pay more or less when you go on holiday?

In this lesson you will see how much it costs for tourists in select cities.

The data below is taken from Trip Advisor and looks at how much hotels, dinners, taxis, and cocktails cost in each city (for two people).

Take a look at the different prices for nine select cities below:

Country Hotel Taxi Dinner Cocktails Total
See the full data here
Warsaw $103 $14 $53 $17 $187
Buenos Aires $159 $4 $45 $20 $229
Munich $183 $23 $72 $36 $314
Moscow $240 $25 $98 $37 $401
Rio de Janeiro $316 $9 $73 $30 $427
London $271 $41 $102 $37 $451
New York $379 $23 $82 $32 $516
Zurich $299 $39 $151 $35 $523
Oslo $230 $29 $277 $45 $581


Example Sentences

What we can say that out of these countries:

  • Oslo is the most expensive city for tourists.
  • Buenos Aires is the cheapest city to get a taxi.
  • New York has the most expensive hotels.
  • Warsaw is the cheapest city for cocktails.
  • It’s over six times more expensive to have dinner in Oslo than in Buenos Aires.
  • It’s ten times cheaper to take a taxi in Buenos Aires than in London.
  • In total, Oslo is over three times more expensive than Warsaw.


Hotel: 4 Star Hotel
Taxi: A 2 mile return journey.
Dinner: Two Appetizers, two main courses, and a bottle of wine in a mid-range restaurant.
Cocktails: Two dry martinis in a 5 star hotel.


The above examples are comparatives and superlatives.


Cheap is regular, therefore we add er = cheaper.
Expensive is irregular, so we put more in front of it = more expensive.

Here is an example from before: Oslo is more expensive than Warsaw.


Cheap is regular, there we add -est = cheapest
Expensive is irregular, so we put most in front of it = most expensive.

Here is an example from before: Oslo is the most expensive city for tourists.


Read the examples from before again, and then take our quiz:

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So firstly, I haven’t been on holiday for a long time. This is because my family lives in Europe, so when we do have a break, we usually go to visit them. But, I have been to four of the cites listed above, and, to be honest, I didn’t spend anywhere near the prices listed. I stayed in hostels, for example, in Buenos Aires I think I paid about $10 a night.. and this was for a shared room and a shared bathroom. Also in Argentina, a lot of the hostels had barbecues where you could eat as much meat as you want for around $5. And, I remember paying $17 to stay in New York, $30 in London, and about $10 to stay in Rio.

The most striking thing for me about the table (the prices) for me is just how expensive it is to have dinner in Oslo. To nearly spend $300 on dinner is crazy to me. And also, I never realized how expensive taxis are in London.

So, you’re discussion question today is this:

What is important to you when you’re booking a hotel? So, talk about the different criteria, the room, the cleanliness, the price, the location etc.

Also let me know if your city is listed and if not, how much things normally cost in your city.

Leave your comments below!

Questions Using Like

Four Questions Using “Like”

Look at these four questions:

  • What is your best friend like?
  • What does your best friend look like?
  • What does your best friend like doing?
  • Does your best friend look like anyone famous?

The Video

The following video explains the difference between these four questions. Change the settings to HD and please press the thumbs up!

(Watch the video on Youtube)

The Four Questions

Let’s take at the four questions that were used in the video.

What’s your best friend like?

This question is concerned with the personality and character of your best friend. The answer to this should concentrate on describing your friend in terms of personality. Here are some examples:

  • He’s really nice, I think you’ll like him.
  • She’s a little crazy; she has lots of energy and says exactly what she means.

You can also talk about appearances in this answer, but this is usually done after talking about the personality.

What does your best friend look like?

This question is all about the appearance of your best friend. Here are some examples:

  • He’s tall, has long, brown hair, and is quite good looking.
  • She’s very beautiful.

What does your best friend like doing?

This question is about your best friend’s interests, hobbies, and activities they like doing.

  • He really likes sports and spends most of his time outdoors.
  • She’s a bit of a party animal. She goes out every night!

Does your best friend look like anyone famous?

This is the only question where we use the word “like” in the answer. To look like someone means that you have a similar physical appearance as them.

Here are some example answers to this question:

  • He looks like Bill Clinton.
  • She looks exactly like Selena Gomez.


In this exercise I have given different answers. What you need to do is answer with the correct question:

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What is your best friend like? Leave your answers below.

Lend vs Borrow

Another confusion for some English students is knowing the difference between lend and borrow. The best way to see the difference is through the following example:

Ruby gives a pencil to Daisy in the classroom but wants it back after.

Ruby lends a pencil to Daisy.

Daisy borrows a pencil from Ruby.

Notice the prepositions? – Borrow from someone and lend to someone.


More Examples

Let’s take a look at more examples using lend and borrow:

  • Can I borrow a pen? (the most common way of requesting something)
  • I asked him if I could borrow a pen.
  • I need to borrow a pen from somebody.
  • I borrowed this book from Dave a long time ago. I need to give it back.
  • Do you think we should buy a ladder instead of keep borrowing one from our neighbours?
  • He borrowed it from me.
  • I hate lending things to people.
  • I don’t mind lending things to people.
  • I remember lending my bike to Mike a couple of years ago.



Choose the correct term for the following: lend, borrow, to, from.

1. I hate __________ things to people.

2. Can I ___________ your lawn mower for a little while?

3. He lent it _____ me.

4. I had to __________ it from my teacher.

5. I borrowed it _____ Sandra last week.

6. I always __________ things to Paula.


1. lending / to lend

2. borrow

3. to

4. borrow

5. from

6. lend


Do get nervous when lending things to people?

What’s the best thing to do when you lose something that someone lent to you?

Do you look after things you borrow?


Live vs Life and Living Life to the Fullest


Me and my friends in Bolivia.

The verb to live and the noun life can be quite confusing, especially when it comes to spelling and pronunciation.

The trickiest part is knowing the difference between the pronunciation when both the noun is in the plural and the verb is in the third person: even though they are spelled the same, the pronunciation is different.

Let’s take a look at this difference:

Live as an Adjective

Live can also be used as an adjective. For example:

  • I prefer listening to live music.
  • The news is always done live.

Living Life to the Fullest

This is a common expression and basically means to make the most out of life; to live your life to your full potential.

This article lists 101 ways to live life to the fullest. Here are some from that list.

1. Create Your Own Opportunities.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” – Milton Berle

2. Stop Complaining.

“Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.”  – Lou Holtz

3. Stop putting life on hold.

“Life is short”

4. Do things you love.

(Enjoy your English learning and don’t get stressed!)

5. Go dating (if single).

(If you’re single, date somebody who speaks English 😉 )

Do you live life to the fullest?


See vs Watch vs Look At


He’s watching you!

The difference between these three verbs can be a little confusing, especially when talking about television, movies etc.

There is a general rule for using these verbs in other scenarios.


When we use ‘see’ we are talking about the ability of our eyes to capture an image. We use it with the verb ‘can’ when we’re talking about if we are able to see something or not.

  • Can you see church in the distance?
  • I definitely saw it, I’m not lying.
  • You can see the ocean from my bedroom window.

There are other ways that we can use ‘see’ too. We use when we meet someone by chance, or meet up with someone, or be in the company of someone. Using ‘see’ this way is very common.

  • I saw Mark last night at the football, we had a talk for a while
  • I’m going to see my accountant later about the problems we’re having.
  • Who did you see at the party last night?

When we say, ‘I see’ this means that you comprehend or understand. You can also extend this: ‘I see your point now.’

Another common way to use it is for recognition or for noticing something:

  • I don’t see why we have to do so much homework.
  • I can finally see what I was doing wrong.
  • It’s important to see your own faults.


This is used when we pay a lot more attention to what we are doing, what someone else is doing, or just for changes and movement in general. We use ‘watch’ when we observe something carefully.

  • (In a shop) Watch that guy over there, I think he might be trying to steal a watch.
  • I have to watch the dogs while they’re outside because we don’t have a fence.
  • I have to carefully watch the CCTV as things happen very quickly.
  • My financial advisor is watching what is happening to gold at the moment because we want to invest in it.
  • (at football training) Watch me first and then copy what I do.

We have a few phrases verbs with watch. ‘Watch out’ is the most common and means to be alert and is shouted when danger is imminent.

  • (A ball is coming towards your friend’s head) Watch out!
  • When you cross the road you have to watch our for cars and cyclists.

Look At

To ‘look at’ something is when we try to see something; we pay attention to something with our eyes.

  • I’m looking at the website but I can’t see the phone number.
  • Look at those guys over there, they seem really angry.
  • Can you look at my essay for me?

We also use ‘look at’ when we are considering doing something:

  • I’m looking at starting a new website soon.
  • They’re looking at moving city to try and find work.

Watch vs See for Movies, Televisions, Sports Events, Cinema etc.

This is where it can get confusing as we tend to use different verbs depending on the tense being used. Generally we use ‘watch’ when at home and ‘see’ when outside of the house.

  • I watched a good film on television last night.
  • I saw a great film at the cinema last week.
  • I watched the game on television.
  • I saw Real Madrid play when I went to Spain.

When we’re talking about experiences in the present perfect, we usually use ‘see’:

  • Have you seen The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?
  • I haven’t seen that video yet.

Bored vs Boring – ‘ed’ and ‘ing’ Adjectives plus Nouns and Verbs

The difference between adjectives that end in ‘ed’ and adjectives that end in ‘ing’ can be confusing for English learners. An example is knowing when to use ‘bored’ and when to use ‘boring,’

A good way to think about this and remember the difference so that you can use them properly is to consider the following:

  • Adjectives that end in ‘ed’ describe how someone feels,
  • Adjectives that end in ‘ing’ describe things or situations.


Here is a conversation that highlights the difference between the adjectives along with the relevant nouns and verbs.

(Tommy and Tasha are waiting to see their bank manager)

Tommy: I’m so bored, how long have we been waiting now?

Tasha: Only about 20 minutes, I don’t think it will be long now.

Tommy: What book are you reading?

Tasha: It’s just an old novel.

Tommy: Is it good?

Tasha: It’s a little boring to be honest. It doesn’t surprise me, I know what’s going to happen.

Tommy: The last book I read was about depression, it was really interesting. Do you want to borrow it?

Tasha: Sure, sounds great. Although it might be a little depressing.

Bored vs Boring (Boredom and to Bore)

  • I am bored (feeling) because this film is boring (description).
  • He is bored (he feels bored).
  • He is boring (a description of his personality).

The noun is ‘boredom’ and the verb is ‘to bore.’

  • I am dying of boredom. (I’m really bored.)
  • He’s boring me.

Interested vs Interesting

  • I’m interested in starting a course with your school.
  • The course was really interesting.

The noun is ‘interest’ and the verb is ‘to interest’

  • There’s a lot of interest in our advertisement.
  • I think that the other job is starting to interest him.

Surprised vs Surprising

  • We were all surprised that he decided to quit his job.
  • It is surprising when that happens.

The noun is ‘surprise’ and the verb is ‘to surprise’

  • Let’s give him a surprise party.
  • I’m going to surprise them with my news.

Tired vs Tiring

  • I’m tired, I’m going to bed.
  • It is tiring working so many hours in a day.

The noun is ‘tiredness’ and the verb is ‘to tire.’ (Tiredness isn’t that common.)

  • You can tell that Manchester United are starting to tire.

We also use the phrasal verb ‘tire out.’

  • He’s tiring me out.
  • The dogs will tire each other out when they play this afternoon.

Confused vs Confusing

  • I’m confused, can you help me?
  • English grammar is sometimes confusing.

The noun is ‘confusion’ and the verb is ‘to confuse.’

  • There is a lot of confusion about how best to learn languages.
  • Their explanation just confuses me.

Depressed vs Depressing

  • I’m not surprised he’s depressed after what happened.
  • This film is depressing.

The noun is ‘depression’ and the verb is ‘to depress.’

  • Many people suffer from depression without telling anyone.
  • Stop depressing me with those stories!

Looking at adjectives and verbs together

We can think about the different verbs listed above together:


  • I’m bored.
  • I’m interested (in).
  • I’m surprised (that).
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m confused.
  • I’m depressed.


  • It’s boring.
  • It’s interesting.
  • It’s surprising.
  • It’s tiring.
  • It’s confusing.
  • It’s depressing.


  • It bores me.
  • It interests me.
  • It surprises me.
  • It tires me out.
  • It confuses me.
  • It depresses me.


What is the most interesting book you have read?

What books do you find interesting?

If you had the opportunity, would living in a foreign country interest you?

Does a full-time job tire you out?

What part of English grammar confuses you the most?

Screen shot 2013-11-30 at 9.02.57 PM

Usually and Used To

Look at the following sentences: Do you know the difference between them?

  • I used to go to France on holiday.
  • I am used to living in France.
  • I am getting used to living in France.

Now watch the following video (with some different examples). Change the settings to HD!

Used to go (used to + infinitive)

Used to + infinitive is used when we want to talk about habits in the past, habits that don’t occur now. We also use it for repeated actions and states in the past.

  • I used to smoke when I was younger (but I don’t anymore).
  • My dad used to smoke a lot.
  • I didn’t use to like country music, but I do now.
  • We used to get up early but now it’s too difficult.

Be used to going (used to +gerund)

Be + Used to + gerund/noun is used when we talk about something that we are familiar with or accustomed to. Here are some examples:

  • I’m used to the rules of baseball.
  • I’m used to watching baseball on TV.
  • He wasn’t used to driving on the other side of the road at first but now he is used to it.
  • I’m used to getting up early now.

Get Used to Doing (get used to+ gerund)

Get used to + gerund explains the process that you are going through. You are becoming familiar with something or doing something.

[list style=”list1″ color=”blue”]

  • It’s hard working long hours but I’m getting used to it.
  • My mum is slowly getting used to writing emails.
  • They are getting used to living in France.
  • Are you getting used to your new schedule?


Well vs Good

Well vs Good

A big confusion for many English learners is the difference between ‘good’ and ‘well. There is a general rule for this, and as in most English grammar, there are some important exceptions.

Firstly, watch the following video (change it to HD!):

The Video

General Rule

Here is the general rule: ‘Good’ is used as an adjective and ‘well’ is an adverb. In other words, use ‘good’ with nouns and ‘well’ with verbs. Here are some examples:

  • He cooks well.
  • He’s a good cook.
  • I play the guitar well.
  • I’m a good guitarist.
  • Messi played well yesterday.
  • Messi is a good player.

You might hear (mainly Americans) say, “He did good.” This is grammatically incorrect but it is quite common to hear.


Now, let’s take a look at the exceptions of when we use ‘good’ as an adverb. I like to use the example of James Brown in a restaurant.

1. “Wow, it smells good in here!” – We use ‘good’ with the verb ‘smell.’ ‘You smell good’ is something you might say to someone who has nice perfume.

2. “The food looks good” – We use ‘good’ with the verb ‘look.’ James might also say that his friend looks good in her dress, ‘You look good!’

3. “This tastes good” – James likes the taste of food, and he uses the correct grammar as we use ‘good’ with the verb ‘taste.’

4. “Sounds good” – James says this to the waiter when he is asked if he wants some chocolate cake for dessert. This is a way agree to something. It can also be used literally when talking about music for example: ‘The band sound good tonight.’

5. “It was good” – James responds to the waiter when he asks, “How was the food?”

6. “I feel good!” – At the end of the meal James says this as he is very happy. This is something that you must have heard James say before:

Good vs Great vs Fantastic

‘Great’ and ‘fantastic’ can be substituted for ‘good.’ Great is probable the most common word to use with the sensation verbs above. Fantastic is the strongest out of the three. Here is an example:

(Robert and Tamara are about to leave to go on a date. Tamara walks downstairs.)

Tamara: How do I look?

Robert: You look good.

Tamara: Only good?

Robert: No, you look fantastic!

Here are more examples:

  • Wow, the food looks great. Thank you for inviting me to dinner.
  • You smell great! What perfume are you using?
  • Your new business idea sounds great, I think it will work here.
  • Wow! This tastes fantastic, why haven’t we come here before?

How Are You?

“Very well, thank you.” This is a standard response, but a lot of people today say, “I’m good” when responding to this question. Here are two more answers:

1. I’m doing well.
2. I’m doing good. (grammatically incorrect but common).
3. Fine, thanks. (A little more formal)
4. Fantastic! (You feel great)

More Information

In Northern England you will hear people use ‘well’ in place of ‘very’. For example, “I’m well tired.” This sounds quite informal so it’s best not to use it, especially if you’re not talking to someone from that area.

It’s all well and good reading about it, but now you have to use it. This phrase means that it’s not sufficient to just read this article, but you also have to put it into practice!


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