4 – For or Since: What Is the Difference


4 – For or Since: What Is the Difference

Have you ever wondered how to talk about an event that began in the past and continues into the present

In English, we often use prepositions to place a noun, pronoun or noun phrase in time. This way, we can communicate the passage of time

One common problem that English learners face is how to use prepositions of time. Two of the most common prepositions of time are for and since

English learners often have difficulties with these two prepositions, because their native languages may use prepositions differently

Consider the following sentences

I’ve been travelling for three years
I’ve been travelling since 2012

Today, you will learn about why you should use for in the first sentence, and since in the second sentence


In English, we use the preposition for to talk about an amount of time or space. The amount of time could be seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or even years

The amount of time does not need to be exact. You could use for when you are talking about vague periods of time, like “for the weekend”, “for ages” or “for a long time

The important point is that for is used to specify a period of time

In English, the basic formula for using for is this

for + a period of time

For can be used when talking about the past, present or future

Here are three example sentences that use similar vocabulary, but use different verb tenses

(Past) Last year, I traveled for three weeks
(Present Continuous) I’m travelling for three weeks
(Future) Next year, I will travel for three weeks

Regardless of the verb tense, the preposition for is still followed by a period of time

“For” in popular music

You can hear examples of “for + a period of time” in many songs

For example, in the popular movie “Frozen”, the character Anna sings

For years I’ve roamed these empty halls

You heard the singer say “for years.” She says “for” because the word “years” refers to a period of time. The prepositional phrase “for years” tells how long the singer has roamed the empty halls


In English, we use since to refer to a point of time. Since can refer to a point after a specific time or event in the past. Or it can refer to a particular point beginning sometime in the past and continuing until the present time. The particular point in time could be anything – last Tuesday, 2008 or midnight, for example

The important point is that since is used with a particular point in time

The basic formula for using since is this

since + a particular point in time

In sentences with since, we usually use perfect tenses. When using since, we normally use present perfect and past perfect tenses in the main clause of the sentence. You wouldn’t use since when you are talking about the future because, by definition, since refers to specific point in the past

Here are two examples in the present perfect tense

It has been raining since 8 a.m
I have been walking since 10 p.m

“Since” in popular music

You can hear the word since in many popular songs. Here is the group “The Temptations” using the preposition since in “Since I Lost My Baby

Since I lost my baby
Since I lost my baby
Since I lost my baby

In the song, since is followed by “I lost my baby.” This means that the singer lost someone he loves. Because he lost the person he loves at a specific point in time, you use the preposition since

For vs. Since

Remember, for is used with a period of time

Since is used to refer to a specific point in time

You can use for and since with similar verb tenses, if you wish. Here are two examples

I have been walking for five hours
I have been walking since 10 p.m

We have lived here for 20 years
We have lived here since 1985

In the example sentences, both for and since show an event that began in the past and continues into the present

But please remember this: for can be used with other verb tenses, including the future

I hope that you remember this lesson for a long time

For VOA Learning English, I’m Pete Musto. And I’m John Russell

John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

For or Since
For or Since

For or Since with the Present Perfect

When to use for and since with the present perfect

For and since are used with the present perfect to indicate time. For is used to say how long something has been the case (e.i. the duration.) Since, however, is used to say that something has been true from a particular time in the past until now


Used with the present perfect, for indicates the duration, that is how long something has lasted or has continued


I have been in this town for a long time

He has known her for six years


Use since to say that something has been true from a particular time in the past until now


I have been in this town since I was 10 years old

He has known her since 2008

The Difference between Since and For – English grammar with exercises
When we give a time reference there are various words we use such as at, on, in, and also for and since. These last two can be a little confusing for learners because they are similar and are often translated in the same way. Let’s have a look at each one and see when it’s best to use them
We use ‘since’ in front of a finished point in time in the past. For example

since June

since 10:30

since last Tuesday

We normally use ‘since’ with the present perfect to describe an action or situation that began in the past and continues in the present

For example

We’ve been married since 1995

I’ve worked here since 2008

She’s lived in New York since 2014

They’ve been here since 4pm

You’ve had that cold since last month

He’s taken part in four conference calls since 9:30

We can also use ‘since’ with a past action (which is similar to referring to a finished time). In this case it is often preceded by ‘ever’. For example

They’ve argued ever since they came back from their honeymoon

Since I met Astrid I’ve tried to learn German

It’s been ages since we went to the sea on holiday

You’ve been complaining ever since you arrived

He’s had a car since he started working

It hasn’t rained since we reopened the school

We use ‘for’ with a period of time. For example

for two years

for eight hours

for a long time

We can also use ‘for’ with the present perfect to describe an action that started in the past and continues in the present

For example

We’ve been married for 22 years

I’ve had this car for three months

She’s worked there for ten years

They’ve lived here for 40 years

He’s played with that toy for hours

It hasn’t snowed for years

But we can also use ‘for’ with other verb tenses. For example

We’re staying in the mountains for 10 days. (present continuous)

She lived in Japan for three years. (simple past)

I’ll be at reception for a few minutes. (simple future)

They normally study for an hour then have a break. (present simple)

In December we’ll have been married for 25 years! (future perfect)

Now you’ve read about the difference between ‘since’ and ‘for’, try writing some personal examples using each one. For example, describe how long you’ve lived at your present address, or how long you’ve worked/studied at your present company or school. By writing these examples you’ll reinforce what you’ve learnt and you’ll be able to use these words much more easily in conversation

كيف تستخدم SINCE و FOR باللغة الإنجليزية؟

هل تساءلت يوماً عن الطريقة التي تستطيع من خلالها التحدث عن حدثٍ بدأ في الماضي واستمر حتى الوقت الحاضر؟

نستخدم حروف الجر في اللغة الإنجليزية لنوضح الزمن الذي حدثت فيه الجملة. لكن يواجه المتعلمون الجدد للغة الإنجليزية مشكلة شائعة تتعلّق باستخدام حروف الجر الخاصة بالوقت Preposition of time. ولعلّ أشهر هذه الأحرف باللغة الإنجليزية هما Since وFor.

يواجه متعلمو اللغة الإنجليزية بعض الصعوبات فيما يتعلّق باستخدام هذين الحرفين وعادةً ما يكون السبب وجود حرف جرٍ مختلفٍ بلغتهم الأصلية كاللغة العربية.

سنتعلّم اليوم الفرق في استخدام كل من هذين الحرفين في اللغة الإنجليزية. تابع معنا!


كيف تستخدم For؟

نستخدم For – لـِ” عندما نرغب في الحديث عن المدة – عند التحدّث عن المدة التي استمر فيها شيءٌ ما. أي تستخدم For متبوعةً بما يدل على مدة زمنية بدأت في الماضي ومستمرة حتى الحاضر، وبالتالي فإننا نستخدم صيغة الحاضر التام وليس الحاضر البسيط. إليك هذه الأمثلة:

I have known her for a long time – أعرفها منذ مدة طويلة.

I have lived here for ten years – عشت هنا لمدة عشر سنوات.

لاحظ أن استخدام For مع صيغة الحاضر البسيط (Present Simple) تشير إلى مدة زمنية تستمر في المستقبل:

How long are you here for? – كم من الوقت ستبقى هنا؟ (إلى متى)

How long have you been here for? – كم من الوقت مضى وأنت هنا؟ (منذ متى)

تذكّر أننا لا نستخدم For مع بعض التعابير مثل: all day – طوال اليوم أو all the time – طوال الوقت. إليك الأمثلة التالية:

I was there all day – كنت هناك طوال اليوم. (جملة صحيحة).

I was there for all day (جملة خاطئة لا يمكن استخدامها).

كيف تستخدم Since؟

تعبّر كلمة Since عن نقطة البداية في أي عمل أو حدث. وتشير إلى الوقت الذي بدأت فيه الأشياء. أي أننا نستخدم Since متبوعةً بما يدل على نقطة زمنية في الماضي لتشير إلى استمرارية هذا الحدث من تلك النقطة إلى الآن. إليك هذه الأمثلة التوضيحية:

the difference between have has

For or Since
For or Since

I have been waiting since 7 o’clock – أنا أنتظر منذ الساعة السابعة.

I have known him since January – أعرفه منذ شهر يناير.

نستخدم صيغة المضارع التام أو الماضي التام مع Since. انظر إلى الأمثلة التالية:

I have been here since 5 o’clock and I am getting tired – إنني هنا منذ الساعة الخامسة وبدأت أشعر بالتعب.

I had been working since 5 o’clock and I was getting tired – كنت أعمل منذ الساعة الخامسة وكنت قد بدأت أشعر بالتعب.

يمكننا استخدام Since عن طريق التركيب التالي:

It has been + مدة زمنية + since

It has been two months since I last saw her. – مضى شهرين منذ آخر مرة رأيتها فيها.

It has been three years since the last earthquake – مضى ثلاث سنوات على آخر هزّة أرضية.

Since vs. For

يعتبر معرفة الوقت المناسب لاستخدام كل من حرفين الجر السابقين أمراً ضرورياً، لذلك وضعنا لك ملخصاً صغيراً يساعدك على التفريق بين Since وFor.

Since: لذكر النقطة الزمنية التي بدأ فيها حدث ماFor: لذكر مدة زمنية محددة
I have been a doctor since 1992 – أعمل كطبيب منذ عام 1992I have been a doctor for fifteen years – أعمل كطبيب منذ 15 عاماً. (لمدة 15 عام)
My sister has lived in Frankfurt since the beginning of March – تعيش أختي في فرانكفورت منذ بداية شهر ماري.My sister has lived in Frankfurt for nine months. – تعيش أختي في فرانكفورت منذ 9 أشهر. (لمدة 9 أشهر).

تستخدم كل من Since وFor بشكلٍ شائع مع صيغ الأفعال التامة (حاضر تام، ماضي تام) – لا نستخدم هذه التعابير مع صيغة الحاضر البسيط.

I have learnt Russian for three years – أتعلّم اللغة الروسية منذ ثلاث سنوات. (جملة صحيحة)

I learn Russian for three years – (جملة خاطئة)

يمكنك استخدام For مع صيغة الماضي البسيط بينما لا يمكنك استخدام Since في هذه الصيغة، تستخدم Since فقط مع صيغ الحاضر أو الماضي التام.

She went to Japan for three years – ذهبت إلى اليابان لمدة ثلاث سنوات. (جملة صحيحة)

She went to Japan since 2003 (جملة خاطئة).

نأمل أن تكون قد استطعت التعرّف على الفروق الأساسية بين كل من Since وFor   باللغة الإنجليزية والمكان الصحيح لاستخدام كل منهما. هل لديك أي استفسارات أو أسئلة؟ لمَ لا تدعنا نساعدك عن طريق قسم التعليقات في الأسفل؟