What is the difference between since and for?
In French, the word depuis can be used as a translation for both since and for. As a result, the difference between since and for is not always clear. Consider the following sentences and their French translations:
I have been working since 2004. | Je travail depuis 2004.
I have been working for 5 years. | Je travail depuis 5 ans.
In this post, we’ll do our best to explain the difference between since and for. We’ll provide some very clear examples of when to use each. Then, we’ll finish off with a quiz so that you can practice what you’ve learned!
How to use since
Since can be used in three ways:
1) as a preposition followed by a noun
I have been studying English since 2005.
I haven’t stopped working since Tuesday.
The sun has been shining since this morning.
2) as an adverb
I visited Japan in 2001 but haven’t been back since.
I gave up smoking 5 years ago and haven’t picked up a single cigarette since.
3) as a conjunction
Since you’re asking, I’m going to tell you.
Since he wanted to work on the project so badly, I assigned it to him.
I haven’t played tennis since I was in college.
How to use for
There are multiple uses of for. To get a full overview, feel free to click on this link.
In the context of time, for is used to signal a duration of time.
I have been running for an hour.
I have been eating at that restaurant for 10 years.
I’ve been waiting for a lifetime.
She has been sick for 2 weeks.
She has been studying for the last month.
Illustration: The difference between since and for
Since is used when we want to refer to a specific point of time in the past.
I haven’t loved pizza since only yesterday. I haven’t loved pizza since only last year.
I have loved pizza since college!
And, I still love pizza today.
For, on the other hand, refers to a time period, or the space of time between one point in the past and now.
I was in college 20 years ago.
Now – 20 years = a time period of 20 years.
I have loved pizza for (a time period) of 20 years.
Now that the difference between since and for is clear, let’s practice!
Please select either since or for to complete the sentences.