Posted by: helpforyourenglish | January 30, 2011

For and since

For and since

Many learners of English ask about the difference between using For and Since when talking about time. Here is the difference. We use ‘for‘ when talking about a period of time but when we use ‘since‘, we refer to a specific time in the past.


For a period of time: for three minutes, for a year, for two hours, for 3 days, for four months, for 6 years, for a long time, for ages

Since a specific time in the past: since six o’clock, since Monday, since last month, since December, since Christmas, since my birthday, since 1988, since I was a child

These examples should help you understand

1. Thomas has been studying English for two years. He has been studying since January 2009.

2. Mary hasn’t seen her brother for three months. Mary hasn’t seen her brother since October.

3. I haven’t eaten meat for a long time. I haven’t eaten meat since I was nine years old.

4. Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you for two hours! I’ve been here since 9 o’clock!

5. I usually go jogging for thirty minutes a day. I haven’t been swimming since the day I nearly drowned.

Now test yourself. For or since?

(a). Peter has been in hospital ________ Tuesday.

(b). Peggy lived in Paris ________ 9 months.

(c). My aunt hasn’t eaten ________ two days.

(d). I haven’t seen Anne ________ I was at school.



  1. Add you on my favorite sites, friend, I’m Carlos from Brazil, very useful site, keep up doing a great job.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Carlos. I’m glad you find my blog useful. If you need any help, I’ll be happy to help you.

  3. Thnx it’s so useful for me. I always wait 4 other explanation

  4. Do for and since use only Perfect tense?

  5. Peter has been hospital ( since ) tuesday.
    Peggy lived in Paris ( for ) 9 month.
    MY aunt has not eaten ( for ) two days.
    I have not seen Annne ( sinne ) i was at school.
    Are they correct?

  6. Hi Bird
    No, they are not only used in the perfect (or present perfect) tense. Look at example 5. “I usually go jogging for thirty minutes a day.” That’s the present simple tense. We can also use ‘for’ to talk about the future. For example: ‘I’m going to study in China for two years.’

    ‘Since’ is most commonly used with the present perfect tense but we can use them with other tenses. For example: 1. You look much younger since you got your hair cut. 2. Since I met Jane, I can’t stop thinking about her.

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