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I understand that ‘since’ is used to refer a point in the past till now. However I have a doubt on the below example. Please tell me which one is the correct?

  1. I have been working here since 2 years.

  2. I have been working here since 2 years ago.

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    Possible duplicate of Difference between 'since', 'for' and 'in' Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 15:28
  • Regardless of the answer on that earlier question, my personal advice would be to always favour for over since in such contexts (in which case you would never want to include ago). Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 15:30
  • two years by itself does not establish a point-in-time. Two years is a duration. Two years ago on the other hand refers to a point-in-time two years back in the past. She received her degree two years ago.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:06

2 Answers 2

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Only your second example is correct. You can't use "since" with time durations. You can use it only with points in time.

"2 years" is a duration, while "2 years ago" is a point in the past (like yesterday, last year or birth)

  • I have worked here since yesterday/last year/birth/2 years ago.

As the comments advise, it is better to use "for" in such context with time durations.

  • I have worked here for 2 years.
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Neither example is a preferred way of using "since." Here are alternative versions with brief explanations as to how they use references to time.

I have worked here for two years.

This first example uses the speaker's current moment in time as the point of reference to express how long he or she have been doing something. That the speaker may have been doing something else before two years ago is irrelevant with this statement.

I started working here two years ago.

This second example uses a past moment in time as the point of reference to express how long the speaker has been doing something. Again, that the speaker may have been doing something else before two years ago is irrelevant with this statement.

It has been two years since I started working.

This third example uses a past moment in time as the point of reference to express how long it has been since something changed. This is the important distinction: what the speaker was doing before two years ago was important. The change in condition is more important than what has happened since.

I haven't been unemployed since two years ago.

This fourth example uses a past moment in time as the point of reference to express how long it has been since something changed. However, this time what the speaker was doing before the moment of change is more important than what the speaker was doing after the moment of change.

We see this perspective of the change in condition in the official definition. From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Since [1]:from a definite past time until now (has stayed there ever since), [2]:before the present time (long since dead), [3]:after a time in the past (has since become rich).

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  • An estimated 40,000 hits in Google Books for since a year ago suggests you're wrong to label OP's second example "incorrect". I might personally prefer to use for two years, but that doesn't mean since isn't syntactically valid (it's just a slight shift of emphasis from length of timespan to start of timespan). Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 15:53
  • @FumbleFingers, Possibly, but the frequency response of a fragment isn't authoritative. Google Ngrams suggests peak popularity of the phrase "since a year ago" between 1910-1950 with a rapid decline since.
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:27
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    @JBH - Google Ngrams isn't authoritative, either. Besides, "in decline" is not the same as "incorrect". As for that bit about the phrase being in a "rapid decline", it's still being used aplenty in current news stories.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:41
  • I absolutely agree that idiomatically, since [timespan] ago is a "declining" usage (though if we're to believe NGrams, my preferred alternative For two years I have... has also declined significantly over the past century). I just don't think you should bluntly categorise the usage as "incorrect". Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:43
  • @FumbleFingers, oh, if that's the issue I'll modify the intro. No problem.
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 17:06

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