For и Since

Наречия времени For и since

Английские наречия времени For и Since в предложении отвечают на вопросы When? (когда) и How long? (как долго). Давайте рассмотрим основные правила их использования в предложении, а также уточним как они работают в некоторых весьма спорных ситуациях.

A. Compare When….? (+ past simple) and How long….? (+ present perfect):

  • A: When did it start raining?
  • B: It started raining an hour ago / at 1 o’clock.
  • A: How long has it been raining?
  • B: It’s been raining for an hour / since 1 o’clock.
  • A: When did Joe and Carol first meet?
  • B: They first met a long time ago / when they were at school.
  • A: How long have Joe and Carol known each other?
  • B: They’ve known each other for a long time / since they were at school.

B. We use both for and since to say how long something has been happening.

We use for when we say a period of time (two hours, six weeks etc.):

  • I’ve been waiting for two hours.
  • Sally’s been working here for six months. (not ‘since six months’)
  • I haven’t seen Tom for three days. (not ‘since three days’)

for (two hours; 20 minutes;  five days; six months; a week; 50 years; a long time; ages)

We use since when we say the start of a period (8 o’clock, Monday, 1985 etc.):

  • I’ve been waiting since 8 o’clock. (= from 8 o’clock until now)
  • Sally’s been working here since April. (= from April until now)
  • I haven’t seen Tom since Monday. (= from Monday until now)

since (8 o’clock; 1977; Monday; Christmas; 12 May; lunchtime; April; they were at school)

It is possible to leave out for (but not usually in negative sentences):

  • They’ve been married (for) ten years, (with or without for)
  • They haven’t had a holiday for ten years, (you must use for)

We do not use for + all_ (all day / all my life etc.):

  • I’ve lived here all my life. (not ‘for all my life’)

C. We say ‘It’s (a long time / two years etc.) since something happened’:

  • It’s two years since I last saw Joe. (= I haven’t seen Joe. for two years / the last time I saw Joe was two years ago)
  • It’s ages since we went to the cinema. (= We haven’t been to the cinema for ages)

The question is How long is it since_?

  • How long is it since you last saw Joe? (= When did you last see Joe?)
  • How long is it since Mrs Hill died? (= When did Mrs Hill die?)


1 Write questions with how long and when.

1 It’s raining.
(how long ?) How long has it been raining?
(when?)When did it start raining?


2 Kate is learning Italian.
(how long / learn?)_______________________________________________________________
(when / start / learn?) _____________________________________________________________


3 I know Martin.
(how long/ know?)_______________________________________________________________
(when / first / meet?)______________________________________________________________


4 Bob and Alice are married.
(how long?) ____________________________________________________________________
(when?) _______________________________________________________________________

2 Read the situations and complete the sentences beginning in the way shown.

  1. (It’s raining now. It’s been raining since lunchtime.)  It started raining at lunchtime
  2. (Ann and I are friends. We first met years ago.) We’ve known each other for years
  3. (Mark is ill. He became ill on Sunday.)   He has ___________________________________
  4. (Mark is ill. He became ill a few days ago.)   He has _______________________________
  5. (Sarah is married. She’s been married for two years.)   She got______________________
  6. (You’ve got a camera. You bought it ten years ago.)   I’ve _________________________
  7. (Sue has been in France for the last three weeks.)   She went________________________
  8. (You’re working in a hotel. You started in June.)   I’ve _____________________________

3 Put in for or since.

  1. It’s been raining __since_ lunchtime.
  2. Tom’s father has been doing the same job________________ 20 years.
  3. Have you been learning English __________ a long time?
  4. Sarah has lived in London __________ 1985.
  5. ________________ Christmas, the weather has been quite good.
  6. Please hurry up! We’ve been waiting ________________ an hour.
  7. Kevin has been looking for a job________________ he left school.
  8. The house is very dirty. We haven’t cleaned it________________ ages.
  9. I haven’t had a good meal__________last Tuesday.

4 Write B’s sentences using the words in brackets.

  • A: Do you often go on holiday?
  • B: (no / five years) __No, I haven’t had a holiday for five years
  • A: Do you often eat in restaurants?
  • B: (no / ages) No, I___________________________ ___________________________________
  • A: Do you often see Sarah?
  • B: (no / about a month) No, _____________________________________________________
  • A: Do you often go to the cinema?
  • B: (no / a long time) ___________________________________________________________

Now write B’s answers again. This time use It’s……. since……..

(1) No, it’s five years since I had a holiday
(2) No, it’s _____________________________________________________
(3) No_________________________________________________________
(4) ___________________________________________________________

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