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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.
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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.

paco
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?
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"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."

paco
Isn't "since 5 years ago" the same as "for the last 5 years"?, only less grammatical?
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Etymologically since (=sin) and ago(=agone) were synonymous. So "since 5 years ago" is like "since 5 years since" or "ago 5 years ago".

paco
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
interchangeable.

"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!

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