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"Je fumais depuis des années quand j'ai décidé d'arrêter"

emre can c.A2Kwiziq community member

"Je fumais depuis des années quand j'ai décidé d'arrêter"

I don't understand why "depuis" is used here despite the fact that we use "depuis" for ongoing actions as stated in the lesson below.

Using the present tense (Le Présent) - and not the compound past (Le Passé Composé) - in sentences with "depuis" (since/for) in French (French Prepositions of Time)

Asked 3 years ago
Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

This is an “advanced” example - not “has been happening since” but “had been happening since”.

In this case the ongoing action was in the past. It was interrupted/stopped by another event - described in passé composé. 

2 useful links below - look at “has been happening” and “had been happening” explanations especially.

 

https://www.thoughtco.com/depuis-pendant-pour-1368831

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/depuis-vs-il-y-a/

 

Chris W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Je fumais depuis des années quand j’ai décidé d’arrêter. — I had been smoking for years when I decided to stop. 

Note that in French you use imparfait where in English you find past perfect tense. 

"Je fumais depuis des années quand j'ai décidé d'arrêter"

I don't understand why "depuis" is used here despite the fact that we use "depuis" for ongoing actions as stated in the lesson below.

Using the present tense (Le Présent) - and not the compound past (Le Passé Composé) - in sentences with "depuis" (since/for) in French (French Prepositions of Time)

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