What's the Difference between

by Shaheen Naz
(Rawalpindi, Pakistan)

I can use the simple tenses easily, but I'm confused regarding the difference between "since" and "for," and also between "been" and "being."


The difference between "since" and "for":


We use the word "since" to show when something started.

  • I have worked here since 2002.
    (Meaning: I started working in 2002 and continued until now.)

  • He has been unemployed since quitting his job.
    (Meaning: he began being unemployed as soon as he left his job and this continued until now.)

  • Since Monday they haven't said a word.
    (Meaning: they spoke on Monday, but then didn't speak until now.)

  • We have been waiting for you since noon.
    (Meaning: we started waiting for you at noon, and this continued until now.)

  • She hasn't eaten since yesterday.
    (Meaning: she ate something yesterday, and didn't eat anything else until now.)

Note that "since" is used for things that started in the past and continued until some later point in the past, or until the present.

For more info, study the present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect and past perfect progressive tenses.


We use the word "for" to show "how long?".
  • I have worked here for ten years.
    (Meaning: how long have I worked here? Ten years.)

  • He has been unemployed for two weeks.
    (Meaning: how long has he been unemployed? Two weeks.)

  • They haven't said a word for several days.
    (Meaning: how long haven't they said a word? Several days.)

  • We have been waiting for you for hours.
    (Meaning: how long have we been waiting for you? Hours.)

  • She hasn't eaten for twelve hours.
    (Meaning: how long hasn't she eaten? Twelve hours.)

Note that we can also use "for" for present states or actions, or future states or actions.

For example, "We will talk for a few minutes," "You should stay inside for at least an hour."

Now, regarding "been" and "being" you can read this previous answer: BEING and BEEN

Click here to post comments

Return to Questions and Answers about English.