SINCE and FOR confusion Resolved
When to use Since
The word ‘Since’ is used to describe something that has happened in the past. It refers to a previous point in time. ‘Since’ is also used to denote an event that happened after another event.
Since is used to express when something started:
- since 6 am
- since Tuesday
- since February
- since I left my job
- since the beginning of time
- since last night,
- since 2003,
- since birth,
- Tom hadn’t been to the clinic since he had broken his knee.
The preposition since is usually used with perfect tenses:
- John has been crying since 9 am.
- He has been working since he arrived.
- We also use since in the following structure
- “It is [‘period of time’] since”:
- It was a year since I had met with the accident.
- How long is it been since you got the fracture?
When to use FOR in Sentences
we usually use the preposition ‘for’ to describe an amount of time or space. The amount of time can be seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years etc. It does not need to be exact. We use for when we are describing a vague period, like, “for ages” or “for several years”, “for a long time”.
The word ‘for’ is used to express a time leading up to the present time.
I have been a cardiac surgeon for ten years.
The preposition ‘for’ is not always used to express past time; we can also denote present and future tenses—the word ‘since’ is used only in the past tense.
For can be used with all tenses
- for three days
- for six months
- for four years
- for two centuries
- for a long time
- Mr X has had hypothyroidism since 2007.
- Mr X is smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for the past 25 years.
- Over the past week, she remains free from pain.
- The ulcer under her tongue has been present for more than one year.
- Mr X has had type 2 diabetes for ten years
- Mr is a patient of mine since 2013.
‘for and since’ for time
Both Since and for have other meanings, too, with no reference to time. Both the prepositions since and for are commonly used to describe events in a specific period. When using them, it is essential to choose the correct verb tense.
‘for’ refers to a period from start to end
‘since’ refers to a point from then to now
How ‘since and for’ are used for avoiding confusion?
The two most commonly used prepositions of time are for and since. The words since and for seem confusing for many native as well as non-native English speakers. To understand the correct and proper context to use the words ‘for’ or ‘since’ is essential to know when speaking using the right Time prepositions. The two words ‘for’ and ‘since’ both refer to a period, but each has a different meaning. The word ‘for’ is used to describe a specific amount of time. And the term ‘since’ is used to describe a period before another event took place.
Don’t forget to use the article ‘the’, as its function is to specify a particular period.
- For the last…
- For the past…
- For the next…
The present perfect tense has often used the words ‘for or since’.
Present perfect tense
The present perfect tense is essential in English. The present perfect tense has a simple structure. It denotes an action or state that has occurred at an indefinite time in the past.
‘For’ is used to express an amount of time (e.g., for one month).
‘Since’ denotes the start of a period (e.g., since September 2018).
Mr John has had depression since the death of his wife last year.
She has visited the dispensary every week for two months.
(For) The patient has been on this medication for six months.
(Since) The patient has been on this medication since January.
For can be used when we talk about the past, present or future times.
Example (using different verb tense):
- Mr X has had arthritis since 2005.
- Mr X has smoked two packs of cigarettes per day for the last five years.
- The infection in her throat has been present for more than one week.
- Mr X has had type 2 diabetes for ten years.
- Mr X has been a patient of mine since 2018.
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