can only be used to express a duration of time that started in the past and
still continues in the present, or "that both started and stopped in the
past." Pendant can be used to describe something that happened in the past, or
the future, with" no relevance to the present time".
The above are excerpts from Todd’s answer below marked “correct”. Could someone
please explain the parts within inverted commas that I find confusing. The definition of ‘Depuis’ states ‘the action is ongoing’. So, how can it have ceased in the past? The other statement was relating to Pendant.
The lesson explains that it could include the present too!
Perhaps the following examples will illustrate what Todd was trying to say as the use of depuis, pendant and pour is tricky in French as normally the word 'for' will do in English.
1. Pour is indeed for a future time and an intended action and is normally translated as 'for' in English.
Je vais en Italie pour les grandes vacances = I am going to Italy for the summer holidays
Nous allons en France pour trois semaines = We are going to France for three weeks
Je vais en Espagne pour apprendre à parler la langue = I am going to Spain to learn how to speak the language.
2. Pendant is used to convey a completed action in a past time and can be 'for' or 'during' in English and you use the perfect tense + pendant
Je l'ai attendu pendant une heure = I waited for him for one hour
Il est resté à Paris pendant trois jours = He stayed in Paris for three days
You could use pendant to indicate an action in the future in rare cases to indicate a duration -
J'attends pendant une heure et je m'en vais = I'll wait for an hour and I am off
3. Depuis describes a past action which is continuing ( in the present )
Depuis means 'since' in French so you will use to indicate a starting point to say you have done something since that point in time and that you are still doing it.
You will hear a French person say in English -
'I am in England since two months' which is the mistake in reverse.
Je suis en Angleterre depuis deux mois = I have been in England for two months
J'attends ici depuis dix minutes ( and there's no sign of it ending...) = I have been waiting here for ten minutes ( and ça continue...)
Unlike English which uses the perfect tense + for , in French you use the present tense + depuis + time
Nous sommes amis depuis notre enfance = We have been friends since we were children
There are come cases when in English you would use the Pluperfect which will translate as an imparfait in French -
J'attendais depuis une demi-heure quand le train est arrivé = I had been waiting for half an hour when the train arrived
Hope this helps!
Here is a good resource to study this topic: https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/prep1.html
The document from University of Texas, while interesting, does not deal with your point - it insists on the on-going nature of expressions with "depuis".
Consider the following sentence:
Il travaillait dans cet établissement depuis janvier 2006 jusqu'en décembre 2019, après quoi il a été licencié. - He worked for this company from January 2006 to December 2019, after which time he was dismissed.
Here depuis is analogous to à partir de, à compter de.
It's the only example that comes to mind illustrating depuis with a non "ongoing action".
Hope this helps,
I have a pronunciation question please, thank you. Why is the "a" in "matin(s)" pronounced like "at" instead of pronouncing the "a" like "ah" mawtan? Thank you.
Matin is pronounced as two syllables-
ma + tin
So 'ma' is pronounced as in:
ma, ta, sa etc...
and tin as in:
un, vin etc...
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