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

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When ...? (+past simple)
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How long...? (+present perfect)
When did it starting raining?
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It started raining an hour ago/at 1 o’clock.
How long has it been raining?
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It’s been raining for an hour/since 1 o’clock.
When did Joe and Carol first meet?
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They first met a long time ago/when they were at school.
How long have Joe and Carol known each other?
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They’ve known each other for a long time/since they were at school.
We use both for and since to say how long something has been happening.
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We use for when we say a period of time (two hours, six weeks etc.) We use since when we say the start of a period (8 o’clock, Monday, 1985 etc.)
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two hours, 20 minutes, five days, six months, a week, 50 years, a long time, ages
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8 o’clock, Monday, 12 May, April, 1977, Christmas, lunchtime, they were at school
Sally’s been working here for six months.
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Sally’s been working here since April.
I haven’t seen Tom for three days.
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I haven’t seen Tom since Monday.
It is possible to leave out for (but not usually in negative sentences).
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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.)
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I’ve lived here all my life. (not ‘for all my life’)
We say ‘It’s (a long time/two years etc.) since something happened
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It’s two years since I last saw Joe. (= I haven’t seen Joe for two years/the last time when I saw Joe was two years ago) It’s ages since we went to the cinema. (=We haven’t been to the cinema for ages)
The question is How long is it since...?
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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?)

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