How to use Since, For, Ago in English

Since, For and Ago

These words (since, for and ago) are used when talking about periods of time.

We often use for and since with the present perfect, and to say how long something has been happening.

How to use FOR

We use for with a length of time, or to say how long something has continued:

It means: for + a period of time.

For Example

  • For five days.
  • for two months.
  • for three weeks.
  • for 15 minutes.
  • for a month.
  • for six years.
  • for a day.
  • for a lifetime.

How to use SINCE

We use since with a point of time to describe when the period of time began.

It means: since + the start of the period

  • Since 2017.
  • since Monday.
  • since 8:00.
  • since January.
  • since last night.
  • since summer.
  • since last week.
  • since this morning.

Comparison between since and for:

  • David has been in India for six months. (don’t say since six months)
  • David has been in India since January. (= from January to now).
  • We have been waiting for three hours. (don’t say since three hours)
  • We have been waiting since 9 o’clock. (= from 9 o’clock to now).
  • I have lived in London for a long time.
  • I have lived in London since I was ten years old.

How to use AGO

We use ago to say how long before the present something happened.

Ago = before now.

We use ago with the past tense, (started/did/had/was etc.).

For example:

  • 5 years ago.
  • 3 days ago.
  • 7 minutes ago.

How to use Ago with examples:

  • Emily started her new job three weeks ago. (It means three weeks before now)
  • When did Nora go out? Ten minutes ago. (It means ten minutes before now)
  • I had dinner an hour ago.
  • Life was very different a hundred years ago.
  • When was your last meal? Two hours ago.
  • When was the last time you were ill? Seven months ago.
  • When did you last go to the cinema? A few weeks ago.
  • When was the last time you were in a car? three hours ago.
  • When was the last time you went on holiday? four months ago.

Since, For, Ago Examples

  • I have been ill since Friday.
  • She has had a cold for 3 days.
  • Sebastian arrived an hour ago.
  • We lived in London a year ago.
  • Nola has been here since 2003.
  • We left the office 10 minutes ago.
  • I have been waiting here for ages.
  • I bought these shoes a few days ago.
  • I have known Owen for six months.
  • Ezra has lived in Hong Kong since 2009.
  • I have been a doctor for several years.
  • Alice has been in London since Monday.
  • Cora has been in Mosco for three days.
  • My aunt has lived in Brazil for 14 years.
  • I have tried green curry several years ago.
  • My parents have been married for 25 years.
  • We have had our car for a few months.
  • I have been reading this book since last week.
  • Lydia arrived in Egypt three days ago.
  • Peyton has been in Turkey for three days.
  • Lynn and Mark have been married 20 years ago.
  • Julia and Gabriel got married for 21 years.
  • Remi has been learning English for six months.
  • He has been a student here since September.
  • They have been dating since about 3 weeks ago.
  • Eva is in her office. She has been there since 8 o’clock.
  • India has been an independent country since 1947.
  • The bus is late. We have been waiting for 18 minutes.
  • When did Elena arrive in Russia? She arrived in Russia three days ago.
  • How long has Maya been in India? She has been in India for three days.
  • Nobody lives in those houses. They have been empty for many years.
  • Robert has been ill a long time. He has been in hospital since November.
  • How long have you known him? I have known him since February.
  • I’m sorry, I’m late. Have you been here long? No, only for a few minutes.

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