How To Use ‘Depuis’

Today in French class, we learnt more about the french word ‘depuis’, and how to use it in a sentence.

Depuis roughly translates to ‘since’ or ‘for’ in English, such as in:
‘I have been learning French for five years.’

However, depuis can also be used when describing locations. For example, you can also say:
‘Le cadeau vient depuis la France.’ (The gift arrives from France). However, it is still possible to use ‘de’ in place of ‘depuis’ in this sentence (Le cadeau vient de France). 

Most often though, depuis is used when describing a length of time. This is done in two ways. This may seem complicated at first, but it’s soon easy enough to learn.

The first form describes an action that is still currently happening. For an example, let’s take the French sentence “J’apprends le français depuis six ans.”
This sentence translates to “I have been learning French for six years” in English. Notice that the French sentence uses the present tense (le présent de l’indicatif) when referring to what you’ve been doing – it is j’apprends, not j’ai apris. This is because the action is still going and you are still learning French, so the present tense is used.

The second form is used when describing an action that is complete and finished. For an example, let’s use the French sentence “J’ai apris le français depuis six ans,” which translates to I learnt French for six years.” Notice that in this example, the French sentence is the past tense (le passé composé). This is because the action is finished.

To sum it all up, use present tense in sentences with depuis when the action is still currently going, and use the past tense in sentences with depuis when the action has been completed.

Hope that helped!

À bientôt 🙂


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