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For / Since

Indicating a quantity of time vs. a specific time

beach
 

 

For vs. Since

FOR

For is used before a quantity of time, and it is commonly used with the present perfect and past perfect tenses.

We have been coming to this beach for fifteen years.

We have been enjoying this paradise for a week.

We have been swimming for three hours.

SINCE

Since is used before a specific time or date, and it is commonly used with the present perfect and past perfect tenses.

We have been coming to this beach since July, 1995 (exact time, date, year)

We have been enjoying this paradise since last Saturday.

We have been swimming since six o'clock this morning.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Expressions

Quantity vs. Specific

 

 

 

Expressions for Quantity of Time & Specific Time


A QUANTITY

A quantity of time includes a unit of time: a minute, hour, week, month, etc.  It may also include a modifier such as now or so far, long, short, a few,many, several, these past few, these past several

fifteen minutes

a quarter of an hour

forty eight hours

several hours

two days

a couple of days

a week

seven days now

a month

a month so far

two years

two long years  (long or short)

two summers

two summers ago  (*Avoid using ago.)

two centuries

these past few years  (last few)               

A SPECIFIC TIME

A specific time is stated as an hour, date, year, century or era. It may also include a modifier such as last, the beginning of, the end of, the middle of

7:45 a.m. (seven forty-five)

a quarter to eight

April 4, 2010

the day before yesterday

June 15

the middle of June

last week 

the end of the week / the weekend

July

last July

2020

the war, the depression (event)

spring, summer, fall, winter

a week ago    *See note.

the beginning of the 21st century

he called  (Since can introduce a clause.)

 

*Ago (adj) is more commonly used with the past tense.  "We went there a year ago."

 

 

 

 

 

 

For

Additional Meanings

 

 

 

FOR  – Additional Meanings

VARIANT MEANING EXAMPLES

HELP SOMEONE(prep.)

I called a taxi for them. Open the door for him. What else can I do for you?

PURPOSE (prep.)

I run for exercise.

INTENDED USE  (prep.)

This towel is for dishes.  This knife is for cutting bread..

IN REGARDS TO  (prep.)

Smoking is bad for one's health.

IN FAVOR OF  (prep.)

I'm for shortening the school year. (in favor of reducing the number of days of attendance)

IN EXCHANGE FOR  (prep.)

She works in their home for room and board. (as payment for a room and food)

IN PLACE OF (prep.)

Margarine is a substitute for butter.

SUCCESS RATIO (prep.)

The batter was two for four. (used to indicate the number of successes out of a specified number of attempts) 

BECAUSE, SEEING (conj)

He left, for he had no reason to stay. (coordinating conjunction; uncommonly used) 

IN THE DIRECTION OF (prep.)

He got on his horse and headed for the border. (occasionally used as an preposition of place or direction)

FOREVER (expression)

He left, for good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since

Additional Meanings

 

 

 

SINCE  – Additional Meanings 

VARIANT MEANING EXAMPLES

BECAUSE, IN AS MUCH AS (conj)

Since you are here early, you might as well help.  (reason; often used at the beginning of a sentence)

AFTER THAT TIME UNTIL NOW (conj.)

He hasn't called since he left.  (subordinating conjunction)

FROM THAT TIME UNTIL NOW (conj.)

He has been talking on the phone since he got home.

FROM THAT TIME UNTIL NOW (expression)

We met two years ago and have been roommates ever since.

SUBSEQUENTLY; AFTER (adv)

At first she didn't want her daughter to marry him, but has since agreed to it. (an unspecific time between past and present)

A LONG TIME AGO (adv. – expression)

I have long since agreed to his independence 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

We've been swimming there since ten years ago.  awkward wording

 

 

I have been working as an assistant for the summertime.

SOLUTION

We have been swimming there for ten years. Simplify by using for before a quantity of time and delete ago.

We have been swimming there since 1998.  Simplify by using since before a specific time and delete ago.

A phrase with [quantity of time + ago] qualifies as a specific time in the past; however, it is not in common usage by native speakers because it is wordy.   

I have been working as an assistant this summer. (unspecific period within the season)
I have been working as an assistant all summer. (from beginning to end of the season)
I have been working as an assistant for two summers.  (consecutively; one after the other)
I work as an assistant during the summertime. (routine)

 

Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "Since"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Tourism in the Beach Resorts

Beach visitor
 

 

Stating experience with for and since.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Title

 

 

Read for Errors

We haven't seen Daniel for many, many years. He was a child when we last saw him. In fact, we haven't seen him since five years ago.  His family moved to Arizona for while his father was working there.

They have been there since the time when his father started the new job. We're really glad to see him again, and we hope he'll stay for a while.

 

 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 11-20" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

11.
We haven't see Daniel for many, many years. He was a child when we last saw him.

     

12.
In fact, we haven't seen him since five years ago.

       

13.
His family moved to Arizona for while his father was working there.

     

14.
They  have been there since the time when his father started the new job.

     

15.
We're really glad to see him again, and we hope he'll stay for a while.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Leaving Home

Fish butcher
 

 

Expressions with for and since.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 16-22" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

21.
I don't want to live there.

22.