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For vs. Since

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Common mistakes

  1. (NG) I have lived in this town since my whole life.
    1. (OK) I have lived in this town for my whole life.
  2. (NG) I haven’t gone to that museum since such a long time.
    1. (OK) I haven’t gone to that museum for such a long time.

Grammar words and phrases in context

I’m a native New Yorker and I have lived here since I was born. For more than 40 years, I’ve been going to the same pizza shop. It’s a family business, and they have been open for almost 75 years, since before World War II.

We use for when we talk about how long something happens. The structure is for plus a time period. We usually use for with the present perfect tense to connect the past with now.

  1. I have worked at this store for four years.
  2. I haven’t seen Jack for such a long time.
  3. We’ve been waiting at this bus stop for twenty minutes.

It’s also possible to use for with the simple past to talk about a time period in the past.

  1. I worked there for 17 years.
  2. Jack lived in San Francisco for three months.
  3. They were married for just four weeks and split up.

We also use since with the present perfect tense to connect the past to now. But unlike for, since is followed by a single point in time.

  1. I have worked for this company since 2010.
  2. I haven’t seen Jack since February.
  3. We’ve waited for Tom since 9:30, and he’s still not here. Let’s start the meeting without him.

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