ENGLISHMiscellaneous English

SSC EXAMS: USAGE OF ‘SINCE’ & ‘FOR’

Since & For

The Present Perfect Tense with FOR and SINCE

1. We use SINCE/FOR with the present perfect Tense or the Present Perfect Continuous Tense for an action which began in the past and is still continuing or has just finished. FOR is used with a ‘period of time’ whereas SINCE is used with a ‘point in time’; e.g.

a) I have lived here for five years. (and still live here)
b) She has been here since six o’clock. (and is still here)
c) Since my accident I have been in hospital.                          d) This room hasn’t been cleaned since February.

NOTE-I: FOR can sometimes be omitted, especially after the verbs BE, LIVE and WAIT; e.g.

I’ve been here an hour.
= I’ve been here for an hour.

NOTE-II: FOR is not used before time expressions beginning with ALL; e.g.

INCORRECT: She’s worked for all night.
CORRECT: She’s worked all night.

2. Note that there is difference between LAST and THE LAST. With an adjective of a period say minute, week, month, etc LAST refers to ‘point in time’ whereas ‘THE LAST’ refers to ‘period of time’, so we use SINCE with LAST and we use FOR with THE LAST; e.g.

a) I haven’t seen her since last week.
b) I haven’t seen her for the last week.

NOTE: However, when the word TIME has a clause after it, we use SINCE THE LAST TIME; if a clause is not there after TIME, we use FOR THE LAST TIME; e.g.

a) She has gained a lot of weight since the last time I saw her.
b) “She is coming to Delhi for the last time”, says she.

3. SINCE + CLAUSE

When we use SINCE with a time-clause, we can use the Past Simple or Present Perfect after SINCE, and we use the Present Perfect in the main clause. We do not use FOR with time clauses; e.g.

He has been in bed since he met with that accident.
= He has been in bed since he has met with that accident.

INCORRECT: She has gained a lot of weight for the last time I saw her.
CORRECT: She has gained a lot of weight since the last time I saw her.

INCORRECT: She has been learning how to dance from she was 7 years old.
CORRECT: She has been learning how to dance since she was 7 years old.

NOTE: But the following sentence is correct as use of FROM is without a clause.

She has been learning how to dance from the age of seven.

4. IT + BE + TIME + SINCE

CASE-I: If we are talking about a present situation, the Present Simple Tense and the Present Perfect Tense are equally correct after IT, in such a case we use either the Past Simple Tense or the Present Perfect Tense in the SINCE-CLAUSE; e.g.

a) It is years since I met him.
= It is years since I have met him.
= It has been years since I met him.
= It has been years since I’ve met him.

ii) It is two years since I saw Mohan.
= It is two years since I have seen Mohan
= It has been two years since I saw Mohan.
= It has been two years since I have seen Mohan.

CASE-II: If we are talking about a past situation, the Past Simple Tense and the Past Perfect Tense are equally correct after IT, in such a case we use the Past Perfect Tense in the SINCE-CLAUSE; e.g.

It was years since I had met him.
= It’d been years since I had met him.

5. SINCE + -ING FORM 

We can use ‘SINCE + -ING FORM’ form to refer to time when the subject of the verb is the same in the main clause and the other clause; e.g.

Since leaving school, I have gone abroad twice.
= Since I left school, I have gone abroad twice.

 

The Past Perfect Tense with FOR and SINCE

We use The Present Perfect Tense or the Perfect Perfect Continuous Tense with SINCE/FOR for an action which began in the past and is still continuing or has just finished. But, if an action which began before the time of speaking in the past, and ‘was still continuing that time’ or ‘stopped at that time or just before it’ we use The Past Perfect Tense or the Past Perfect Continuous Tense; e.g.

i) a) Rohan was a teacher when I met him. He had been a teacher for five years.
b) Rohan was a teacher when I met him. He had been a teacher since he was twenty one.

ii) a) Reshma had lived/had been living in that house for 45 years.
b) Reshma had lived/had been living in that house ever since she was born.

NOTE-I:  We use FOR with The Simple Past Tense for a terminated period of time; e.g.

I read in this school for five years. (means don’t read here now)

NOTE-II:  EVER SINCE

SINCE and EVER SINCE are the same thing, we use EVER before SINCE for emphasis only; e.g.

a) Ever since we met, we haven’t ever argued.
b) Mrs Sharma doesn’t go for walks on her own ever since she fell.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

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