For and Since – How to use these English Prepositions

For and Since – we use both these prepositions to talk about time in English, so how are they different? Learn how to use these English prepositions correctly in this video.

Thank you for calling Pattersons. Your call is very important to us. Please hold. Sorry to keep you waiting. This is Rachel speaking. How can I help you?
At last. I’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes. I have a question about….
Oh, I’ve got another call. Can I put you on hold for a moment?
Wait! I just have a question about my account. Hello. Hello?

We can use both these prepositions to talk about time, so what’s the difference? We use ‘for’ to talk about periods of time. And ‘since’ to talk about points in time. Let’s look at some examples. We’ll start with ‘for’.

I think you should throw this sweater away, Jay.
But I’ve had it for ten years.
Exactly!

All right. So she hasn’t written for a couple of weeks.
Three weeks.
Does that mean anything? Don’t worry so much.

I’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes. I have a question about …
Oh, I’ve got another call. Can I put you on hold for a moment?
Wait! I just have a question about my account.

So we use ‘for’ to talk about periods of time. It could be years, weeks, 15 minutes or just a moment. It’s a length of time. Great! Now what about ‘since’? We use since to talk about points in time.

At last!
Hello everyone.
Nice of you to come.
What’s the matter. Am I late?
We’ve been waiting since two o’clock.
But it’s only three.

We bought this ball for Carter last Saturday.
And since then, he hasn’t stopped playing with it.
Oh, he loves it!

Last six months, we created more than two hundred thousand jobs each month. That’s the first time that’s happened since 1997.

Since two o’clock, since last Saturday, since 1997. They’re all points in time. And another thing. Points in time can be marked by things that happened – by events.

And tonight we look back. It’s been ten years since the Wall Street crash. So where are we now?

So the Wall Street crash was an event that maked a point in time.

Have you heard? Tom’s getting married.
When? I don’t know. I haven’t been able to speak to him since I got his email.
Give him a call.
Oh, right.

So again, ‘I got his email’ was an event that marked a point in the past. ‘Since’ is about points in time.

May I introduce myself? I’m Watson Pritchard. In just a minute, I’ll show you the only really haunted house in the world. Since it was built a century ago, seven people including my brother, have been murdered in it. Since then, I’ve owned the house. I’ve only spent one night there, and when they found me in the morning, I was almost dead.

You’ve been watching this video for several minutes now. We hope that it’s helped you learn when to use ‘for’ and when to use ‘since’. One more example?

Oh hi doctor. What’s up?
I’m afraid I have some bad news and some very bad news.
Oh no! Give me the bad news first.
The lab called with your test results. They say you have 24 hours to live.
Twenty four hours? That’s terrible! What could be worse?
Here’s the very bad news. I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.

Oooo, you’re still here. Then perhaps you’d like another example. It’s about a young couple called Sue and Larry. They’re in love and they want to get married.

Now let’s see. You’ve known each other for…. three months, one week, two days and seventeen hours.
And you’re eighteen, Sue? And nineteen, Larry? Have either of you ever been in love before?
Well, but not like this. This is the real thing.
Yeah.

So what do you think? Should Sue and Larry get married.

Why, ever since I first met Larry, I haven’t wanted to date anyone else. The whole three months now.

Is that a good enough reason? Write to us in the comments and tell us what you think. Bye now!

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript

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