Present Tense & Time Prepositions- MPFG102

Simple use of present tense with some time expressions

Salut chers amis (Hello dear friends)!

Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui (How are you doing today?

I believe this month has been very much productive for you in learning French grammar as much as it has been for me putting you through it. Cool ! So let's get to work.

Last time, we saw the second aspect of the use of french present tense. Today, we will be discussing another level of the simple use of french present tense with the time expression :

depuis \də.pɥi\ = for / since.

This invariable preposition of time is used in French to express an action that began in the past but continued in the present i. e it is still on at the time when the person is talking. However, in English, the present perfect tense "have been" is used to express such action.

Examples :

Je cherche Paul depuis le matin = I have been looking for Paul since morning.

Take a careful look at the sentence above again. Did you notice the tenses are not the same in both languages? In French, the present tense is used alongside the preposition of time "depuis" to express an action that has been till the moment of making the speech. While English uses present perfect tense (that is, the auxiliary verb "have" in present tense plus the past participle of the main verb).

Let's see more examples.

Nous habitons ici depuis trois ans. = We have been living here for three years.

Elle étudie le français depuis deux semaines. = She has been studying French for two months.

Ils regardent la télévision depuis le matin. = They have been watching television since morning.

There are other time expressions that can be used in the place of "depuis" such as : Il y a...que (sounds like "eelea...ko", voilà...que (sounds like "vwala...ko"), ça fait...que (sounds like "safeh...ko"); when a specific number of hours, days, weeks, months or years is being given.

For these time expressions, the exact number of hours, days , weeks, months or years being referred to is rightly placed where "..." is written.

See examples :

Il y a deux semaines qu'elle étudie le français. = It's been two weeks that she has been studying French.

Ça fait trois ans que nous habitons ici. = That makes it three years that they have been living here.

Voilà deux heures qu'il parle. = It's been two hours that he has been talking.

Kindly note how the exact number of weeks, years and hours is placed between the time expressions.

I hope this is very helpful. Should you have any question for clarity sake, kindly drop it in the comment box. Do well to share the good news with a friend. See you again next time.

Bonne journée (Have a nice day) !!!

Olabayo Joshua Awodirepo


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