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For or since and their tenses
Lessons test and test and exercise test were introducing FOR and SINCE, but the French version of the exercise wasn't translated. This one will be complete and the examples will be different, of course...
1) Should we use FOR or SINCE?
- You must use FOR to express a length of time;
If FOR is placed on a line representing the passing of time, the representation must be a segment.
-----------------|-----|------------ > = for a day.
- SINCE is used to express the starting point of an action or to give a precise date:
It is 'a point' on the line of time ---------X
> = since 2010
> = since 2010
= since December 22 nd.
2) Once the choice is made between FOR and SINCE, the real difficulty consists in determining the tense and form (simple or in –ing) of the verb.
FOR and SINCE may be connected to the past, and sometimes to the present too.
- The Pierces have owned their mountain cabin for 10 years.
(This sentence shows a length of time=> for ; the action which started in the past – 5 years ago – is going on in the present. It is the assessment of the action of ‘owning'.=> present perfect.)
for ten years
- Connie's brother hasn't come to the family cabin for several years now.
The absence of a visit from the brother started several years ago, and is going on in the present. Once again, it is the assessment of an action => present perfect.
3) If we want to insist on the fact that the action has been lasting for some time and is going on in the present. we have to use the present perfect in –ing, with for or with since :
- She's been learning how to ski for 4 years now and does quite well.
4) FOR and SINCE can also mention actions happening in the past only. Then, they have no links with the present:
ex : Last year, it snowed for a whole month.
it Last Present
snowed year moment.
The action which started in the past, was finished in the past too. In the present, it's a 'simple' memory... The tense you have to use then, is obviously the simple past.
5) ... if the action (which lasted a certain length of time) happened in a distant past, and previously to another moment of the past: that length of time is expressed in the past perfect (= HAD+ past participle) [ to insist on the duration of the action, use the past perfect in –ing]
- My grandma had been knitting for several weeks when she offered Patrick his new Christmas jumper.
Therefore, you must try to forget the frequent 'summary' consisting in saying:
[**For and Since, are always used with the present perfect]: IT'S WRONG! On the contrary, it's true that they're never used with a present (simple present or in - ing).
In the following exercise, we're going to deal with a "habit" which tends to develop itself in Anglo-Saxon countries: that of the typical and comfortable jumper picturing people and things which are the characteristics of the Holiday Season. It consists in having fun and laughing at these traditional jumpers, though acknowledging that they're very comfortable. At the same time, you give money to a Charity protecting underprivileged children.
These jumpers, which are supposed to be "ugly", may, sometimes be quite pretty. Others are very bad taste or obscene. Most share in the Spirit of the Season.
You'll have another batch at the end of the test. Good luck for it!
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