Having problems with “for” and “since”?

In most European languages this is often expressed with one word, or with different tenses, so very often students of English find this difficult to master.

“for” = duration of time  = “for 3 years” “for 2 days”  “for 1 hour”

From the start of the period to the end of the period.

Used with ALL tenses – past/present/future

“he travels by train for 2 hours every day”         “we will go to France for 3 days”

“Mary has worked here for 3 years”

                                          THINK DURATION = A PERIOD OF TIME

You are telling us about the duration of the action


“Since”  = a specific moment in time in the PAST when something started.

Since=start of the action.

Therefore = Since + point in time + past.

We use it with PAST tenses ONLY.

“He has been on the phone SINCE 7pm”   “She has been studying English SINCE childhood”

eg. since 8 o’clock, since last Tuesday, since 5 mins ago, 3 years ago.

Therefore to choose, you must decide if you are telling us about a DURATION of an action UPTO the present  =FOR = ANY TENSE


Are you telling us about when the action started. =SINCE = ONLY PAST TENSES