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Unit 12. For and since. When ... ? and How long ... ?

Unit 12; Part A

galka.jpgWe use for and since to say how long something has been happening.

We use for + a period of time
(two hours. six weeks etc.)
We use since + the start of a period (8 o'clock. Monday. 1999 etc.)12.2.jpg
It is possible to leave out for (but not usually in negative sentences):
•    They've been married (for) ten years.  (with or without for)
•    They haven't had a holiday for ten years.   (you must use for)

We do not use for + all ... (
all day / all my life etc.):
•    I've lived here all my life. (not for all my life)

Unit 12; Part B

galka.jpgCompare when ... ? (+ past simple) and how long ... ? (+ present perfect):


Unit 12; Part C

galka.jpgWe say 'It's (a long time / two years etc.) since something happened':
•    It's two years since I last saw Joe.  (= I haven't seen Joe for two years)
    It's ages since we went to the cinema.  (= We haven't been to the cinema for ages)

You can ask 'How long is it since ... ?':

    How long is it since you last saw Joe?  (= When did you last see Joe?)
•    How long is it since Mrs Hill died?  (= When did Mrs Hill die?)

You can also say 'It's been (= It has been) ... since ... ':

•    It's been two years since I last saw Joe.


flag.jpgWrite for or since.
Key.2    since
3    for
4    for
5    since
6    for
7    since
8    since
9    for

1    It's been raining  since  lunchtime.
2    Sarah has lived in Paris _______ 1995.
3    Paul has lived in London _______ ten years.
4    I'm tired of waiting. We've been sitting here _______ an hour.
5    Kevin has been looking for a job _______ he left school.
6    I haven't been to a party _______ ages.
7    I wonder where Joe is. I haven't seen him _______ last week.
8    Jane is away. She's been away _______ Friday.
9    The weather is dry. It hasn't rained _______ a few weeks.
flag.jpgWrite questions with how long and when.
Key.2    How long has Kate been learning Japanese? When did Kate start learning Japanese?
3    How long have you known Simon? When did you first meet Simon? / When did you and Simon first meet?
4    How long have Rebecca and David been married? When did Rebecca andDavid get married? / When did Rebecca and David marry?

1    It's raining.
      (how long?)   How long has it been raining?  
      (when?)   When did it start raining?      
2    Kate is learning Japanese.
      (how long / learn ?) __________________________
      (when / start?) __________________________
3    I know Simon.
      (how long / you / know?) __________________________
      (when / you / first / meet?) __________________________
4    Rebecca and David are married.
      (how long?) __________________________
      (when?) __________________________
flag.jpgRead the situations and complete the sentences.
Key.3 He has been ill since Sunday.
4 He has been ill for a few days.
5 She got married a year ago.
6 I've had a headache since I woke up.
7 She went to Italy three weeks ago.
8 I've been working in a hotel for six months. / I've worked in a hotel for six months.

1    It's raining. It's been raining since lunchtime.   
      It   started raining   at lunchtime.
2    Ann and Sue are friends. They first met years ago.  
      They've   known each other for   years.
3    Joe is ill. He became ill on Sunday.    He has _______________ Sunday.
4    Joe is ill. He became ill a few days ago.    He has _______________ a few days.
5    Liz is married. She's been married for a year.    She got _______________.
6    You have a headache. It started when you woke up.
      I've _______________ I woke up.
7    Sue has been in Italy for the last three weeks.
      She went _______________.
8    You're working in a hotel. You started six months ago.
      I've  _______________.
flag.jpgWrite B's sentences using the words in brackets.
Key.2 No, I haven't seen Sarah / her for about a month.
3 No, I haven't been to the cinema for a long time.
4 No, I haven't eaten in a restaurant for ages. / No, I haven't been to a restaurant for ages.
6 No, it's about a month since I (last) saw Sarah/her. / No, it's been about a month since ...
7 No, it's a long time since I (last) went to the cinema. / No, it's been a long time since ...
8 No, it's ages since I (last) ate in a restaurant. / No, it's beenages since ...    or    ... since I went to a restaurant.

1    A: Do you often go on holiday?
      B: (no / five years)   No, I haven't had a holiday for five years.   
2    A: Do you often see Sarah?
      B: (no / about a month)  No, ____________________________________
3    A: Do you often go to the cinema?
      B: (no / a long time)  ____________________________________
4    A: Do you often eat in restaurants?
      B: (no / ages)  No. I ____________________________________

Now write B's answers again. This time use It's ... since ... .

5    (1)    No, it's five years since I had a holiday.   
6    (2) No, ______________________________________
7    (3) ______________________________________
8    (4) No, it's ______________________________________

Unit 11      Unit 12     Unit 13 forward.jpg

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