Commonly confused time expressions

December 15, 2013pdf

These time expressions are often confused.

We use during to say when something happens. We use for to say how long something lasts.

I was ill for two weeks during May.

Here during shows when the event occurred and for shows how long it lasted.

I have been working for this company for five years. (NOT … during five years.)

I received four raises during the five years that I worked for them.

For

For should not be confused with since. Since is also used to show duration but it indicates the starting point. Since is mainly used with present perfect and past perfect tenses.

I’ve been living in this street for a long time since 1985.

We haven’t seen him since he moved to California.

Until

Both until and till are used to suggest that an action, event or state continues up to a particular point in time and then stops.

I waited for him until / till 5 o’clock.

Will you wait here until/ till I come back?

As I had no umbrella I waited until the rain was over.

Complete the following sentences using an appropriate time expression.

1. He had quite a few strange experiences ……………… his stay in Iraq.

a) during

b) in

2. I have been waiting for you ………………. 9 am.

a) since

b) for

3. She was ill ………………… several months before she died.

a) for

b) since

4. I will try to phone you ……………….. the conference.

a) during

b) in

5. You can’t go home ………………….. you have finished that report.

a) until

b) since

6. I usually work from eight ………………. five.

a) to

b) until

c) Either could be used here

Answers

1. during

2. since

3. for

4. during

5. until

6. Either could be used here

Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."