In this article, I'll go through various ways that you can talk about time in English & provide lots of examples. Let's get to it!
⫸ Use this to talk about how long it has been since something happened.
Structure: Past tense + Length of time + ago
I started watching the show two days ago and I've already watched 10 episodes.
I moved to Chicago two years ago.
She graduated from college 3 months ago.
They met each other a few years ago.
My family and I went to Florida a couple years ago.
⫸ Use 'since' to talk about when something started.
Structure: Present Perfect + since + time
I've been studying Chinese since 2016.
They have been married since 1992.
He has been traveling since he quit his job last year.
She has been writing her book since 2018.
We have been friends since kindergarten.
⫸ To describe the length of time something has been going on
"For" is often used with the present perfect tense.
I've been waiting for you for half an hour.
He has been waiting two weeks for his order to arrive.
He has been playing soccer for 10 years.
She has been watching TV for 3 hours.
They have been working at the coffee shop for 6 months.
⫸ It can be used with other tenses as well:
I worked on my essay for 2 weeks.
I'm going to Europe for the whole summer.
My grandparents visited us for one week.
We talked for hours before we went to bed.
My dog usually sleeps for a few hours during the day.
⫸ Use "in" to talk about when something will happen or how long it has been since something happened.
I haven't seen my cousins in a few years.
I'm going to start grad school in a few months.
The meeting is going to start in a few minutes.
I get off work in two hours.
We're leaving in a few minutes.
Asking About the Time
Here are some questions you can ask someone regarding the time:
⫸ What time is it?
⫸ How much time do we have to...? [to eat lunch, to look around, to talk, etc...]
⫸ How long have you been ….? [working on your book, watching TV, waiting, etc...]
⫸ Since when do you...? [ like K-pop, know her, like pizza, etc...] ** use this when someone says something surprising **
Ex: Your friend says " Have you heard Taylor Swift's new album? It's pretty good!" If you had no idea that they liked Taylor Swift, you could ask them " Since when do you listen to Taylor Swift// Since when do you like Taylor Swift?"
⫸ What time is it? ➜ Almost 2pm.
⫸ How much time do we have to eat lunch? ➜ About half an hour.
⫸ How long have y0u been watching TV? ➜ A few hours / Since this morning.
⫸ Since when do you like K-pop? ➜ Since I was in high school!
➜➜➜ Note: when answering questions, we usually talk in incomplete sentences ("about half an hour" instead of " We have about half an hour.") We also often omit the verb "to be." Example: " Almost 2pm" instead of " It's almost 2pm."