We use for to say how long:

We have been waiting for twenty minutes.
They lived in Manchester for fifteen years.

We use since with the present perfect or the past perfect to say when something started:

I have worked here since December.
They had been watching since seven o’clock in the morning.

We use from …to/until to say when something starts and finishes:

They stayed with us from Monday to Friday.
We will be on holiday from the sixteenth until the twentieth.





Hello Teachers,
I just want to check a little grammar.

When someone says:
"How long has she/he been practicing architecture?"
is it grammatically correct to answer like this?
"She/He has been practicing architecture since 1984" (instead of saying "for more than 30 years")

I personally feel that the answer should be "for + period" to the question of "how long...?" and "since + a certain past time" to the one of "since when...?". But I was not sure when asked by some students in my class and it would be grateful if I could receive some reviews here.

Best Regards

Hello YSATO201602,

A question with 'How long' implies for rather than since, but that does not mean that 'since' is incorrect as it provides the same information. I would say that 'for' is the expected and most likely answer but that 'since' is not wrong.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Is the How Long and How far is same? I am very confused about it I wrote about How long from here xxxxxx but still, i am confused could any one please guide me?

Hello syedarslan619,

'how long' usually refers to 1) an amount or period of time or 2) a measurement. For example, 'How long have you lived in Islamabad?' is asking about a period of time and 'How long is that table?' is asking about a measurement.

'how far' is usually used to refer to a distance. For example, 'How far is it from here to Islamabad?' We could answer '650km'. Sometimes we refer to distances by speaking of time ('10 hours by car'), but really 'far' is asking about a distance measurement.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, teachers,

I have a grammertical question.
How many years have you lived in Singapore?
For how many years have you lived in Singapore?

Which sentence is correct? What is the reason?
Thank you for your answer.

Hello Yasuhito Ota,

The first question is definitely more common than the second one. The second one isn't grammatically incorrect, though -- it's just a bit odd. Even more common than both is 'How long have you lived in Singapore?'

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I am wondering what's the difference between "how long" and "for how long" ?
Thank you.

Hello Sandichil,

When talking about time you can use either but 'how long' is more common; 'for how long' is rather formal in many contexts.

When talking about distance or length we use only 'how long'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Kirk! Could you point out the mistake in this sentence?
China has progressed stupendously since their inception into capitalism.

Hello Asgharkhan8,

'their' is plural, but the noun it refers to ('China') is singular -- this is incorrect. Use 'its' instead.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team