Is it correct to say "since 3 years ago"? I've seen this in an English coursebook.
"For three years" sounds better to me, but I'm not a native speaker, what do you think?
I posted this question in (on?) another English forum but there was a lot of disagreement about it.
1 2
My English Japanese dictionary says :

"Since X years ago" is a vulgar (non-standard) usage. It should be "for X years" in formal English, but many people use it errorneously.

If you are to use "since", I'd rather use the "number" of the year: since 2002, as we're in 2005.
Or, as you say, "for 3 years", if the duration is to be stressed.
But I don't like the sound of "since 3 years ago".
Let's wait til a native reads your post, shall we?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
"Since X years ago" is a vulgar (non-standard) usage

I must confess, Paco, I have never heard a native BrE speaker use this expression, so I would have to agree that it is certainly non-standard English. Quite where the author gets the idea that it may be used at all it would be interesting to discover! It is often used by ELs or non-native speakers. [:^)]
Hello Abbie

I found a paragraph like below in a [url="http://www.estyn.gov.uk/publications/New_Deal.pdf"] document[/url] written by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education and Training.

"The leadership and management of New Deal programmes have improved since five years ago. Managers now understand better what makes a good New Deal programme. They know what they must do to improve. However, systems for managing the quality of the training, and especially self-assessment, are still poor."

Isn't "since 5 years ago" the same as "for the last 5 years"?, only less grammatical?
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Etymologically since (=sin) and ago(=agone) were synonymous. So "since 5 years ago" is like "since 5 years since" or "ago 5 years ago".

ago 5 years ago
tastes sour...
"The leadership and management of New Deal programmes have improved since five years ago.

Paco - you[6]You know perfectly well that context is everything!!

The original question asked about "since" and "for", and your own quote
"Since X years ago" is a vulgar (non-standard) usage. It should be "for X years"

suggests that people may be confusing "for" and "since".

For, since and from are all used to indicate time.

For indicates duration - how long something lasts. It is not interchangeable with "since "

"I have been here for 5 years" not "I have been here since 5 years"

"I've been waiting for her for an hour"

Both "from" and "since" give starting points, and are not generally

"The shop is open from 9 - 5

"I've been here since 8 pm

"Since" is particularly used when duration is measured from a specified point, either the present or a specific point in the past, and present perfect or past perfect tense in usual.

"I've been at the computer since 5 pm" not "I've been at the computer from 5 pm.

"From" can also be used with present perfect, but it generally indicates 'right from the start'

"I knew that Paco would spot a potential for error from the second I posted my reply" Emotion: smile

I think that the construct of the sentence above is probably OK, but, as you will know from the example from your dictionary, just because it's authoritative doesn't make it right!

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more