: Je joue au foot depuis 2001.
If you said -
J’ai joué au foot pendant 2001.
It means that you played football during the year 2001 and probably don’t since then.
If you say -
Je joue au foot depuis 2001.
It means, that you have been playing football since the year 2001 and you are still playing football.
Hope this helps!
Pendant -- during
Depuis -- since.
In English, 'I have played ... since 2001' definitely means continuing to play. If 'playing' had stopped and was not ongoing, I played football from (or 'between') 2001 until (or 'and') "stop date" , would be used. So, in this case, not that different to the use of 'depuis' in French, where 'depuis' is used for current/ongoing actions that started in the past - except that 'depuis' is combined with the present tense, not a past tense. (In situations where we might use 'for' in English for a continuing action, depuis takes on that role as well). Pendant has to have a 'closed' time frame and cannot be used for ongoing, so you cannot cover the sentence presented using pendant.
Remember that « j’ai joué au foot » (with passé composé) really is used to express the PAST tense, and thus does not necessarily express a past action that continues up to the present (in which case I would use the passé composé with été : J’ai été jouant ). To avoid confusion, therefore, either pendant or depuis is also used (j’ai joué au foot pendant 2001– which is an isolated incident taking place in the past only vs. J’ai joué au foot depuis 2001–which stretches the past event up to the present. In this case, the present tense is used : Je joue [Je joue au foot depuis 2001.]. In the same way the future is expressed : Je jouerai au foot PENDANT 2027 (isolated in future) vs. Je jouerai au foot DEPUIS 2027. (Which stretches to include extension from the present).
You are right : pendant is only for isolated events in the past only : J’ai joué au foot PENDANT 2001 vs. J’ai joué au foot DEPUIS 2001, which implies stretching up to and including the present. Note that in either case the verb form ( le passé composé) is used. However, with depuis the present tense of the verb may be used. To emphasize the inclusion of the event into the present, the verb form is of the present tense : Je joue au foot depuis 2001 means that you have been playing football for all the time since 2001, whereas J’ai joué au foot PENDANT 2001 would imply then and only then.
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