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French Grammar: Using *Depuis*! Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Grammar, Vocabulary

Un peu de grammaire aujourd’hui (A little bit of grammar today)!


Here is a “flashback lesson” from The French Blog, using sentences which you might hear if you are talking to French people.
Today, we’ll focus on the word “depuis“, which usually means “since.”

Let us see the different cases it can be used.

For example, one can ask you about the period you have spent living in France (just an example, but it’s up to you to make it become real):

  • Vous êtes en France depuis quand? (How long have you been in France?)

You can also use the sentence “depuis combien de temps?” (“since how long?”)

  • Vous habitez à Paris depuis combien de temps? (Literally: “You live in Paris since how long?”)

An answer can be:

  • J’habite à Paris depuis deux ans (“I live in Paris since two years.”)

Here’s another example:

  • Depuis combien de temps étudiez-vous le français? (How long have you been studying French?)

“Depuis” can also be used for “continuous” actions. For example:

  • Il conduit depuis quatre heures. (“He has been driving for four hours.”)


  • Nous nous reposons depuis une heure (We have been resting for an hour)

In an informal question:

  • Vous attendez ici depuis une demi-heure? (You’ve been waiting here for a half an hour?)

* * *

* Ce dont il vous faut vous souvenir (What you need to remember):

Depuis means “for” when used with the present tense and followed by a time expression.

It is used to show that an action began dans le passé (in the past), but is still happening in the present.

This construction is the equivalent of the present perfect in English; in other words, “has/have been ___ing“.

However, keep in mind that it cannot always be directly translated as so, i.e. mot à mot (word for word), so be very careful!

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