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I live since or I have been living since?

Would it be correct to say: "I live since 2014 in Germany" or rather "I have been living since 2014 in Germany".

In German one can use German version of simple present to describe that you live since a certain period somewhere. I doubt that this would be correct in Englisch, especially when you use the signal word "since".

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018

    @Lars1998, I don't think you need to worry about whether the word since is used or not. It's a question of meaning.

    You use the phrase 'a certain period'. In English we seldom use the PRESENT SIMPLE to refer to any certain period.
    Rather, it's a an uncertain period which includes the time of speaking.
    For a narrower, but still uncertain period, we use the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE. Thus:

    I live in Edinburgh. — true for an indefinite period before and after the time of speaking
    I'm living in Edinburgh. — temporarily true

    For a definite period, we use different verb forms — depending on whether the period excludes or includes the time of speaking.

    • excluding I lived in Germany for two years — true for a definite period of two years in the past, but I don't live there now.
    • including I have lived in Edinburgh for two years — true for a definite period or two years up to the time of speaking

    For indefinite periods before the time of speaking, we use that difficult feature of English grammar the PRESENT PERFECT
    I have lived in Germany — true for one or more periods
    We use this when the focus is on life experience

    The result of this is that we interpret PRESENT PERFECT I have lived in two different ways

    1. with a DURATION or TIME adverbial — always refers to a definite period up to the time of speaking
      I have lived in Edinburgh for two years.
      I have lived in Edinburgh since 2016.

    2. without an adverbial — always refers to an indefinite period or periods excluding the time of speaking
      I have lived in Germany.

    For the first meaning, do learn to use the PRESENT PERFECT.
    If you use the PRESENT SIMPLE, English speakers will understand you, but it sounds foreign.

    There's a fundamental problem for speakers of other languages that have a
    COMPOSED PAST verb form — be/have + PAST PARTICIPLE.
    In English, the choice between PRESENT PERFECT and PAST SIMPLE is never stylistic, always a different way of seeing the past.

    • I lived — within a larger period which excludes the time of speaking
    • I have lived — within a larger period which includes the time of speaking

    I think of these larger periods as BEFORE NOW and UP TO NOW

    Because of this distinction, we use different forms for happenings

    • at definite and indefinite times.
      definite I lived in Germany in 2012.
      indefinite I have lived in Germany.

    • in periods excluding now and including now
      excluding now I saw her yesterday
      including now I've seen her today

    (Using PRESENT PERFECT with today, this week this year etc is normal, but not compulsory. )

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018

    The word since with a TIME EXPRESSION is one way of referring to a period. The possibilities are:

    1. start of period INDEFINITE
      end of period INDEFINITE
      adverbial none necessary
      verb form PRESENT SIMPLE or PRESENT PROGRESSIVE
      I live in Germany.
      I'm living in Germany. (suggests a temporary state)

    2. start of period DEFINITE (stated time)
      end of period INDEFINITE
      adverbial necessary
      verb form PRESENT PERFECT or PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE
      I have lived in Germany since 2016.
      I have been living in Germany since 2016.

    3. start of period DEFINITE (stated duration)
      end of period INDEFINITE
      adverbial necessary
      verb form PRESENT PRESENT PERFECT or PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE
      I have lived in Germany for a year.
      I have been living in Germany for a year.

    4. start of period DEFINITE
      end of period DEFINITE
      adverbial none or one or two
      verb form PAST SIMPLE or PAST PROGRESSIVE
      I lived/was living in Germany. (start and end understood)
      I lived/was living in Germany for two years. (duration stated; start and end understood)
      I lived/was living in Germany for two years from 2015. (duration and start stated; end understood)
      I lived/was living in Germany from 2015 to 2017 (start and end stated)
      I lived/was living in Germany for two years from 2015 to 2017 (everything stated)

    The word since is used only in context [2]. It can only refer to the stated DEFINITE starting time of a period with no DEFINITE end time. And it can only combine with a PERFECT verb form.

    [The use of since followed by a CLAUSE is sometimes different.]

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