For vs Since

For and Since are the two so-called markers of the Perfect tenses (Present /Past Perfect, Present/Past Perfect Continuous), which means that they usually go together. The difference between these two words is quite big, yet many English learners often confuse them.


We use for + a complete period of time (e.g. four days, three years etc.)

  • I have been there for three days.
  • We have been waiting for five hours.
  • They have been gone for a month.


We use since + the starting point of the period (e.g. their childhood, 1993 etc.)

  • I have been learning Spanish since I was eight years old.
  • He has worked at a bank since 2012.
  • His daughter has been going to school since September.

Check yourself by completing the sentences with FOR or SINCE:

  1. Marilyn has been in Madrid ……. three days.
  2. Ruth has lived in Madrid ……. she was nine years old.
  3. I have known Jerry …… 2001.
  4. We have been talking ……. two hours!
  5. They have been married ……. six years.


  1. for
  2. since
  3. since
  4. for
  5. for

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