Explanations » B1 Grammar Explanations » for, since, from – what’s the difference?

For, since, from – Grammar chart

for, since, from – what's the difference?

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For vs since

We can use for and since with the present perfect or past perfect simple or continuous.

We use for + a period of time, e.g. for two weeks, for ten years, for ten days, for a few hours, etc.

  • We’ve been here for a few hours. 
  • He’s been studying for a long time. 
  • When I met them, they had been married for ten years. 

We can also use for with the past simple when an action or event started in the past and also finished in the past after some time. Compare:

  • I have lived in London for 20 years. (=I am living in London now. The action has not finished.)
  • I lived in London for 20 years. (=I am not living in London now. The action started and finished in the past.)

We use since + a starting point (the moment that marks the beginning of a period of time), e.g. since I was born, since 10 o’clock, since last Wednesday, etc.

  • We’ve been here since 4 o’clock. 
  • He’s been studying since he got up. 
  • They had been married since 2010. 

Since vs from

We use since and from + starting point. They are used to mark the beginning of something: an action, a state or an event.

We normally use since with the present or past perfect to talk about the duration of an action, event or state. Since indicates the starting point of this action, event or state.

  • I have known John since I was a child. 
  • He’s been working for us since he finished school. 
  • I was exhausted; I had been at work since six a.m.

We use from in other cases.

  • Masks will be compulsory from tomorrow. 
  • I’m usually here from six o’clock. 

When we use from to indicate the starting point of something, we can also use to or until/till to mark its endpoint.

  • I work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or until/till 6 p.m.)
  • The city reported 400 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Sunday. (or until/till Sunday)