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Many English learners find that they get confused between words like "ago", "since" and "for". Today's podcast gives you lots of examples of how to use these words; I hope it will help you to use them correctly.
Suppose that we want to talk about when we did something, or when something happened. We can use the word "ago". We can say, for example, "it happened two weeks ago" or "a year ago" or "five minutes ago" or "a long time ago". With "ago" we always use words which describe a period of time – a week, a month, 10 minutes.
If we want to say for how long we did something, or how for how long something happened, we can use the word "for" – "for about a week", "for 10 years", "for a short time". And, like "ago", we use "for" with a period of time – a week, a year etc.
Another way of talking about how long we have done something is to use the word "since" – "I have been ill since Monday", "since Christmas", "since I got up this morning". With "since" we always have to use words which describe a point in time – words like "last week" or "Winter" or "1998". We do not say things like "since a week" or "since 10 minutes". Everybody clear? Then let's begin.
Kevin and Joanne have just had a holiday. First, they looked at lots of travel brochures. Perhaps they could take a cheap flight to Marocco. "We went to Marocco two years ago", said Joanne. "Lets go somewhere different."
"We could go to Scotland again", said Kevin. "I like Scotland".
"We went to Scotland a year ago," said Joanne. "It rained for the whole week."
"Well, how about France", said Kevin. "I haven't been to France since I was at school." So they decided to go camping in France.
They set off in the car. But they had forgotten that there were roadworks on the motorway. There have been roadworks on the motorway for the last two years, since the beginning of 2005. They arrived at Dover late.
"Our ferry left 10 minutes ago", said Kevin. "We shall have to wait for an hour for the next ferry."
They got on the next ferry without problems. For the next hour and a half, they relaxed, drank coffee and ate a sandwich until the boat arrived in Calais. Then they drove through France for another 3 hours.
"We must be near the campsite now", said Joanne. "But I am sure we came through this village before, about 20 minutes ago".
They turned left and found themselves in a farmyard with cows and hens. So they went back and turned right, and found themselves in an industrial estate with factories and warehouses. They stared at the map, but they could not work out where they were. "We will have to ask someone", said Kevin. And this was a problem. First, because there was no-one around to ask; and second because neither Kevin nor Joanne spoke more than a few words of French. They drove for another 10 minutes, looking for someone who looked as if they could speak English. And this was difficult, because you cannot tell, just by looking at someone, what languages they speak. Then they saw a man working in his garden. They stopped the car. Joanne tried to remember the French that she had learned at school. "Excusez- moi, monsieur. Parlez-vous anglais?" And the man said that he did speak English – in fact, he was English.
He explained where the campsite was. "We passed it 10 minutes ago", said Kevin. And he asked the man how long he had lived in France.
"We bought our house 10 years ago," the man explained. "For the next six years, we came here every summer for our holidays. Then, four years ago, I retired from my job. Since then, we have lived permanently in France." Kevin asked the man whether he could speak French. "Of course," said the man. "We did not want to be like all those English people who go to live in France or Spain and never learn a word of the language. My wife and I started learning about 8 years ago, and since 2003 we have been to classes in French in the nearby town."
Well, Kevin and Joanne found the campsite. For the whole of their holiday the sun shone, and they relaxed and enjoyed themselves. And when they returned home, they decided that it was not good enough that neither of them could speak French. So they have enrolled in an evening class, where they are now struggling with the mysteries of French irregular verbs.
Источник подкаста: listen-to-english.