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  • marycostello1000

Mini English Grammar Lesson: For and Since

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

We can use for and since with the present perfect simple and present perfect continuous verb tenses when speaking about an action that started in the past and continues in the present. I’m going to explain the difference between these two terms.


“For” refers to the amount of time the action has been going on:

5 minutes, 2 hours, a week, 10 years, a long time, etc.

I’ve worked here for 2 years.

She’s been studying English for a month.

I’ve lived here my whole life / I’ve lived here all my life

(*we don’t use “for” with my whole life / all my life)

❌ I’ve been here since 3 hours.


“Since” refers to a point in time, when the action started:

yesterday, last month, 4 years ago, since I was born, etc.

He’s played the guitar since he was a teenager.

I’ve been working since 6 am.

They’ve eaten at this restaurant since 2015.

Asking a question

To ask someone a question about the amount of time they have been doing something, we use how long at the start of the question.

How long have you been a lawyer?

For 5 years

How long has she been waiting?

For 15 minutes

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