How long have you been studying French? I’ve been taking lessons for 5 years and I went to a French language school every week for 1 year! How do you translate this simple question and reply without getting into a muddle? As you learn French, you will discover the “temporal prepositions” (pour, pendant, il y a, ça fait, etc…) and you will notice that they are used quite differently in French than in English. Using the wrong preposition can change the time period of your message, and thus may create real confusion. It is sometimes challenging to learn how to keep them all straight, but it is worth the time and effort. So how do they work and how do we use them?
Let’s first identify each preposition:
DEPUIS = indicates the origin of an action/a situation that is still continuing at the moment or that was still going on at the time something else happened. If the action is still current, you can simply conjugate the verb in the sentence in the present tense.
Je suis ici depuis 2001 = I’ve been here since 2001
Elle était prête depuis 3 heures quand je suis allée la chercher = She had been ready for 3 hours when I went to fetch/pick her up.