tenses in the main clause:
In sentences with since, we normally use present perfect and past perfect tenses in the main clause.
They’ve known each other since 1990.
We haven’t seen John since Christmas.
I was sorry when Janet moved to America; we had been good friends since university days.
However, present and past tenses are also occasionally found, especially in sentences about changes.
You’re looking much better since your operation.
She doesn’t come round to see us so much since her marriage.
Since last Sunday I can’t stop thinking about you.
Since he went on that course he thinks he knows everything.
Things weren’t going so well since Father lost his job.
This often happens in the structure It is/was … since …
It’s (been) a long time since the last meeting. *) see below for more examples!
It was ages since our last game of tennis. (OR: It had been ages since ..)
tenses in since-clauses:
In the examples above, since is used as a preposition. But since can also be used as a conjunction of time introducing its own clause. The tense in the since clause can be perfect or past, depending on the meaning. Compare:
- I’ve known her since we were at school together.
I’ve known her since I’ve lived in this street.
- We visit my parents every week since we bought the car.
We visit my parents since we’ve had the car.
- You’ve drunk about ten cups of tea since you arrived.
You’ve drunk about ten cups of tea since you’ve been sitting here.
- They had been close friends since Alice was small.
They hadn’t seen much of each other since Polly (had) moved away.
Sometimes a present perfect tense is used in a since-clause, exceptionally, to refer to a finished point of time.
It is now a year since we have last discussed your future. [More normal: …since we last discussed …]
*) In Verbindung mit since (+ folgendes Präteritum) stehen bei Zeitangaben, die sich auf die Gegenwart des Sprechens beziehen, logischerweise auch be und seem im einfachen Präsens.
How long is it since you were in London? How long since is it?
It’s(or: it seems) a long time now since we met
Offenbar durch since beeinflusst, findet sich hier aber auch (anstelle der Präsensform) das Present Perfect:
It’s been years since I enjoyed myself so much as last night.
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