Since

'Since' has different functions in the English language. In this lesson, we will discover more details about this word and learn when to use it.

How to Use "Since" in English?

'Since' can act as a conjunction, adverb, and a preposition. It is used to show that from a particular point in time, something has been going on. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.

Functions of 'Since'

'Since' as a Preposition

As it was mentioned above, 'since' can act as a preposition. Below, we are going to analyze the kinds of prepositions it can be:

Use

'Since' as a Preposition of Time

When we want to show that from a specific time something has been going on, we use 'since' as a preposition of time. Take a look at the examples below:

She hasn't called her parents since Monday.

As you can see, we have a precise day and ever since the action has been going on till now.

Have you been going to a ballet class since childhood?

Position in a Sentence

'Since' here is a preposition which means that it always comes before nouns or noun phrases. We can start a sentence with a preposition, put it in the middle, or at the end. Look:

He has been living here since 1978.

Here, 'since' is at the end of the sentence.

Since 18th century, people have taken pleasure in reading Gothic stories.

Here, 'since' has been used at the beginning of the sentence.

Our daughters, since childhood, were into rock and metal music.

Here, 'since' has come in the middle of the sentence.

Warning!

Please note that whenever we begin a sentence with a prepositional phrase, we must put a comma after it. Also, when we have a prepositional phrase in the middle of the sentence, we must have two commas before and after it. Look:

Since birth, he had gorgeous eyes.

The teens, since the foundation of grunge styles, have been really into grunge and rock styles.

'Since' as a Conjunction

As was stated, 'since' is also a conjunction. Below, we will learn all about it:

Use

'Since' as a Subordinating Conjunction

'Since' connects a dependent clause to an independent one; so, it is a subordinating conjunction. Look:

  • When we want to state the reason behind something. It means 'because' here:

I won't tell you since it's none of your business.

Since the safety of passengers is important to us, we request you take our advice.

  • When we want to indicate a particular time in the past to a later one, or maybe till now:

I haven't had time for myself since I came back to work.

Kevin has changed a lot since the last time we saw him.

Position in a Setence

As a subordinating conjunction, 'since' can come at the beginning of the dependent clause, or between the two clauses. Take a look below:

We cannot walk here since there is a 'No Entry' sign.

Here, 'since' has been used between the two clauses.

Since the accident occurred, the city looks gloomy.

Here, 'since' is at the beginning of the dependent clause.

Warning!

When we use 'since' at the beginning of the sentence, we must put a comma between the two clauses.

'Since' as an Adverb

As it was stated, one of the functions of 'since' is an adverb. Below, we are going to learn all about it:

Use

Since as an Adverb of Time

'Since' indicates the time which means it is an adverb of time. It shows the time of the action. Take a look below:

  • When we want to show the time between then and now, we use 'since':

Lola moved away from here last week and we haven't heard of her since.

He texted me goodbye last night and I haven't been in contact with him since.

  • When we want to show that something happened a long time ago. Take a look:

The café has been closed long since.

They've been dead long since.

Position in a Sentence

'Since' is an adverb here and it mainly comes after adjectives and verbs to modify them. If the verb of the sentence is transitive, then the subordinating conjunction comes after the object. It can sometimes come as the last word of the sentence, after the preposition. Look:

It's been long since we last saw her.

Here, 'since' has come after the adjective.

He fled on Monday and we haven't heard of him since.

Here, 'since' has been used after the preposition.

Idioms with Since

We have only one idiom with 'since' about which we will learn below:

  • Ever since: It is used to indicate that something has been going on continually from a particular point in the past, till the present moment:

Ever since her arrival, she has been acting weird.

John left his parents last year and he hasn't returned ever since.

Since vs. For

Although both are mainly used to talk about time, they differ in meaning. 'Since' is used to specify a particular time whereas, 'for' is used to show the duration of the action. In other words, when we use 'for', we do not care about when the action started or ended. Compare the following examples:

I was a ballet teacher for 3 years.

As you can see, we do not know when the person started ballet, and whether he/she is still a ballet teacher or not.

I've been living here since 1999.

Here, it is indicating that process began at a particular time and has been going on till now.

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