For or Since: How to Use For and Since in English Sentences

If you are an English learner, you have probably encountered these two words and wondered when to use each one. In this article, we will explore the differences between “for” and “since” and provide examples to help you understand how to use them correctly.

For or Since

FOR or SINCE

How to use for and since with the present perfect tense in English.

How to Use For

  • FOR + period of time
  • FOR + number + time word

Examples:

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 weeks
  • 6 days
  • 7 months
  • 10 years
  • 2 centuries
  • A half-hour
  • A while
  • A long-time
  • Ever

Example Sentences:

  • We’ve been talking for 30 minutes.
  • It’s rained for a week.
  • I’ve trained for two months.
  • He’s been off work for a while.

How to Use Since

  • SINCE + starting point
  • SINCE + a time or a date

Examples:

  • 6 o’clock
  • 2nd June
  • Thursday
  • March
  • 1995
  • 1991
  • I was young
  • The beginning of time

Example Sentences:

  • We’ve been waiting here since 2 o’clock.
  • He has been living in Paris since 2008.
  • He has grown since I last saw him.
  • Sarah’s been sick since Friday.

Application in Different Contexts

In Time Expressions

When talking about time, “for” and “since” are commonly used to indicate the duration of an action or event. “For” is used to express a period of time, while “since” is used to express a point in time.

For example, we can say “I have been studying English for two years” to indicate the duration of my English studies. On the other hand, we can say “I have been studying English since 2018” to indicate the starting point of my English studies.

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In Academic Writing

In academic writing, “for” and “since” are often used to indicate time frames for research and studies. “For” is used to indicate the duration of a study or research, while “since” is used to indicate the starting point of a study or research.

For instance, we can say “The study was conducted for six months” to indicate the duration of the study. Similarly, we can say “The study has been ongoing since 2015” to indicate the starting point of the study.

In Everyday Conversation

In everyday conversation, “for” and “since” are commonly used to talk about personal experiences and events. “For” is used to indicate the duration of an event or experience, while “since” is used to indicate the starting point of an event or experience.

For example, we can say “I have been working for eight hours” to indicate the duration of our work. Similarly, we can say “I have been living in this city since 2010” to indicate the starting point of our residence in the city.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Incorrect Usage

One of the most common mistakes learners make when using “for” and “since” is getting their meanings mixed up. “For” is used to indicate a duration of time, while “since” is used to indicate a starting point in time. For example, “I have been studying English for three years” means that the person has been studying continuously for three years, while “I have been studying English since 2018” means that the person started studying in 2018 and is still studying now.

Another common mistake is using “since” with a duration of time. This is incorrect because “since” only indicates a starting point in time. For example, “I have been studying English since three years” is incorrect. Instead, it should be “I have been studying English for three years.”

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Tips for Correct Usage

To avoid these mistakes, it’s important to remember the meanings of “for” and “since” and how they are used. Here are some tips to help you use them correctly:

  • Use “for” to indicate a duration of time and “since” to indicate a starting point in time.
  • When using “for,” always follow it with a period of time, such as “for three years” or “for a week.”
  • When using “since,” always follow it with a specific point in time, such as “since 2018” or “since last Monday.”
  • Remember that “since” only indicates a starting point in time, not a duration of time.
  • If you’re unsure which one to use, try rephrasing the sentence without “for” or “since” and see which one makes more sense.

Practical Exercises

In this section, we will provide some practical exercises to help you understand the proper use of “for” and “since” in sentences.

Practice Scenarios

  1. Complete the following sentences with “for” or “since” correctly:
  • I have been studying English __________ two years.
  • We have been waiting for the bus __________ twenty minutes.
  • She has been working at the company __________ 2010.
  • They have been traveling around Europe __________ three months.
  1. Write five sentences using “for” and five sentences using “since.”

Example sentences:

  • I have been living in this city for two years.
  • She has been studying for her exam since last week.

Self-Evaluation

Now, let’s evaluate your understanding of “for” and “since.” Choose the correct word to complete the following sentences:

I have been studying French __________ two months.

  • for
  • since

They have been living in that house __________ five years.

  • for
  • since
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She has been working at the company __________ 2015.

  • for
  • since

We have been waiting for the train __________ half an hour.

  • for
  • since

He has been playing the guitar __________ he was a child.

  • for
  • since

Congratulations on completing the practical exercises! With these exercises, you can now use “for” and “since” correctly in your sentences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ‘since’ and ‘for’?

‘Since’ and ‘for’ are both prepositions used to indicate a period of time. However, ‘since’ is used to indicate the starting point of a period, while ‘for’ is used to indicate the duration of a period.

When should I use ‘since’?

‘Since’ is used to refer to a specific point in time when an action or event started. For example, “I have been learning English since 2015.” Here, ‘since’ is used to indicate the starting point of the action of learning English.

What are some examples of uses of ‘since’ and ‘for’?

Here are some examples of how ‘since’ and ‘for’ are used:

  • I have been living in this city for five years. (duration of time)
  • I have been living in this city since 2016. (starting point in time)
  • She has been studying for three hours. (duration of time)
  • She has been studying since 9 am. (starting point in time)

How do we use prepositions ‘for’ and ‘since’?

When using ‘for’, we need to use a period of time, such as hours, days, weeks, months, or years. For example, “I have been studying English for two years.” When using ‘since’, we need to use a specific point in time, such as a date or time. For example, “I have been studying English since January.”

Last Updated on November 10, 2023

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