EFL/ESL Grammar: Rules, use, and practice
The use of “Since and For” with the present perfect in English
Has anyone ever wondered how to talk about situations that started in the past and continue into the present?
Yes, this is something that every single language learner has thought of. In English, people often use prepositions to replace a noun or a noun phrase in time. This way, people can communicate the time passage.
One of the problems that many English learners face is how to use prepositions of time such as : for and since.
Let’s look at the following sentences:
- I have been playing since 3 p.m.
- I have been playing for 3 hours.
So, what is the main difference?
Note that we use FOR and SINCE with the present perfect tense to indicate an action that started in the past and continues to the present – it may continue into the future.
- SINCE is used when we have a specific time.
- FOR is used when we have a duration of time
Let’s explain in more details:
How to use “For” in English
In English, “for” is used to talk about a certain AMOUNT of time, which could be seconds, minutes, hours, months, years, decades, centuries, or a long time. Note that this period of time doesn’t have to be exact. You can say
- I have been listening to music for
- I have been learning English for a long time.
The most important thing to need to know is that “for” is mainly used to specify a certain period of time.
- I have lived here for 20 years.
- She has been reading for 3 hours.
- They have stayed in our house for 3 weeks.
How to use “since” in English
In English, “since” is used to talk about a POINT of time. It may refer to a specific date or event. It can be an hour, a day, a part of the day, a week, a month, a year… etc.
- I have lived here since
- She has been reading since 10 a.m.
- They have stayed in our house since last Tuesday.
For & Since
Check your understanding here....