English Lesson: For Vs Since

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I have lived in New York for a long time. Almost for my entire life, except once. I lived in Japan for four years. It was a good experience for me, and I usually go back there once a year to visit. Last year I was busy preparing for Happy English, so I couldn’t go. I haven’t been back to Japan for almost two years. Since my last visit in 2009, one of my students there got married. Even though I haven’t seen her in a while, we still keep in touch.

Today, we will look at the difference between for and since when used with the present perfect tense. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph above once more, then read the following:

Present perfect can be used with for and since to talk about something that started in the past and continues until now. Here are two examples:

• I have lived in New York for 20 years.
• I have lived in New York since 1991.

Both of these sentences mean the same thing: I stared living in New York in 1991 (or 20 years ago) and am living here now.

For is used with a time period, such as a long time, twenty years, a few months, etc. Here are some examples:

• Johnny has been an actor for a long time.
• Jane has worked at Walmart for two years.

Since is used with specific points in time, such as dates, important events, and milestones:

• Johnny has been an actor since he was a child.
• Jane has worked at Walmart since she graduated college
• I have lived in New York since 1991

Well, did you know I have been writing lessons here since January? It is hard to believe I’ve been doing this for so long. How long have you been working at your company?