We can use this sentence pattern to show how long an action or event has continued. We only use it for things that started in the past and are still happening in the present.
- I lived in Berlin for 2 years. (I don't live there now.)
- I have lived in Berlin for 2 years. (I live in Berlin now.)
We use "have" and "has" with these sentences. It depends on the subject.
Subject + have/has + past participle... + for/since...
|I have...||You have...|
|We have... / Sue and I have...||It has... / The concert has...|
|He has... / Jon has...||She has... / Mary has...|
|They have... / Jon and Mary have...||They have... / The classes have...|
Use "for + total time".
- I have lived in Korea for 9 years.
- I have been married for 4 years.
- She has played the piano for 5 years.
- Nick has played soccer for many years.
- They have worked here for over 10 years.
Use "since + starting time".
- I have lived in Korea since 2009.
- I have worked at this company since 2010.
- She has been married since 2014.
- We have been here since Tuesday.
- They have worked on this project since last August.
- Mark has been on our team since last year.
We do not always need to use a specific time.
Bonus Tips and Points
- I have lived here for a long time.
- I have loved comic books since I was a kid.
- She has been in her room for a while.
- He has worked as an engineer for only a few years.
- I have loved musicals since I met my wife.
- I have been sad since I heard the news.
1. We can express the same thing using either "for" or "since". It does not matter which one we use.
If the year is 2017, then both of these sentences are fine.
- I have lived here since 2009.
- I have lived here for 8 years.
If the time is 5 pm, then both of these sentences are fine.
- She has been asleep since 1 pm.
- She has been asleep for 4 hours.
2. We can use a clause after "since" instead of a specific time word.
Real-World English Conversations
- I have known here since I was young.
- We have worked together since we graduated from university.
- They have liked each other since the first time they met each other.
A) How long have you lived in Canada?
B) I have lived in Canada for my whole life. I am Canadian.
A) How long have you lived in America?
B) I have lived in America since 2000. Before that, I lived in Zimbabwe.
A) How long have you skied?
B) I think I have skied for 15 years, but I can't remember exactly.
A) You are really good at English.
B) I have studied English for many years, so I would be sad if I were not good.
A) Have you seen the Great Wall of China?
B) Actually, I have lived in China for 3 years, but I've never been there.
A) Do you know Sharon from accounting?
B) No, I've never heard of her.
A) How is that possible? You both have worked here for over 10 years.
B) I don't really have any contact with accounting. I guess that is why. Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using them at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget.