There is often confusion among English learners about when to use "since" versus when to use "for". (i.e. "I have been studying English _____ 2009".)

In the previous sentence, which is appropriate?

Since is used used when an action began at a specific time, date, or period in your life. For example:
  • I have been working today since 6:00am.

  • James has been living in that house since it was first built.

  • They have been fighting the case in court since 2011.

Notice that "since" is used mostly with the grammar "have/has been ~ing", because it often is used to describe something which starts in the past and continues up to the present.

For is used to describe something which happens for a length of time, and to tell how long. For example:
  • Those two dogs have been barking for three hours!

  • Carl plans to travel to Moscow and study Russian for one year.

  • I just want to stay in my house and relax for the rest of the day.

Therefore, based on these examples, which should be used in the example at the top? "I have been studying English ________ 2009"? If you said "since", you are correct!


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