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Do the following sentences denote the same thing?

  1. I have been waiting for you for 6 hours.
  2. It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you.
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4 Answers 4

32

No.

I have been waiting for you for 6 hours.

It is now 7:00, and I have been waiting for you since 1:00.

It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you.

I was waiting for you until 5:00, but gave up and went home. That was 6 hours ago; now it is 11:00. (This does not indicate how long you waited for me.)

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  • 4
    The first is correct but the second form is not something a native speaker would normally say.
    – Kevin
    Aug 25, 2015 at 15:46
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    @Kevin True. I was explaining the phrase as written, not rewriting it. Still, it is understandable.
    – user3169
    Aug 25, 2015 at 16:33
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    Catija (a very respectable name to Muslims), I think it's ungrammatical because I have read in grammar books that you don't use the past progressive after since with the expression it's been + time + since. I think the sentence #2 is substandard and misguiding.
    – Khan
    Aug 27, 2015 at 9:18
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    @Khan You are correct, it is substandard, as the action would have to be completed to be used with the "it's been" construction. It would be wrong in writing, but somewhat acceptable in casual speech. Aug 27, 2015 at 15:13
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    Second phrase is very weird/unnatural, but I can imagine it being said by a native speaker in a somewhat contrived circumstance: Phone: [Ring Ring] B: Is that you, A? Where are you? A: I am going to be there really soon, Are you still waiting for me? B No. It has been six hours since I was "waiting for you." Now I am pacing and fuming. In a very short while I will be leaving without you. Hurry up!"
    – Adam
    Aug 28, 2015 at 16:51
19

No, in general they don't mean the same thing.

The first sentence means what it says...

  • I have been waiting for you.
  • The duration of that wait has been 6 hours.

So, to be more precise, if it is noon now, I have been waiting since 6 am - the person is 6 hours late.

This is probably what you mean when you constructed the sentence.

Sentence two means something very different, it means

I stopped waiting for you six hours ago.

This is an unusual phrase and wouldn't be used all that often.

So, to use a similar example as before,

  • We were supposed to meet up at 6 am. You didn't show up.
  • I waited for some period of time (unspecified) and then I stopped waiting for you.
  • It has been six hours since I stopped waiting.
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I was waiting

means I am not waiting anymore

6 hours since

Denotes an event that happened 6 hours ago

It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you

means I stopped waiting 6 hours ago

I have been waiting

means I am still waiting.

for 6 hours

is the duration.

I have been waiting for 6 hours

Means I am currently waiting, and I started waiting 6 hours ago.

Since tells you when, for tells you the duration.

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The two sentences are used in two different context:

  1. "I have been waiting for you for 6 hours" is used to ask the other person respond to you or to do something. For example, "I have been waiting for you for 6 hours, hurry up or I will leave"

  2. "it's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you" is used to show that I have given up waiting. For example, "It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you, I've got to go. We're running out of time"

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  • technically your #2 should be written as "It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you. I had to go since I ran out of time". In other words, "6 hours since I was waiting for you" denotes something that happened in the past, not something happening in the present.
    – user469104
    Aug 25, 2015 at 18:19

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