Can I spell out my difficulty with this?
The three sample sentences are (and I've re-ordered the clauses on one to make my point clear):
Depuis que j'ai quatre ans, je porte des lunettes.
Depuis que vous nous l'avez dit, nous le savons.
Depuis que je t'ai rencontré, ma vie a complètement changé.
In the first two examples, the second clause of each is in the present tense; why not in the third example?
You will have learnt that depuis .... is followed by the present tense. e.g.
J'habite Paris depuis deux ans = I have lived in Paris for two years
Je connais Pierre depuis vingt ans = I have known Pierre for twenty years
et ça continue ...(and it is carrying on).
That is why in French you will use the present tense and not the perfect .
(You will hear foreigners making the same mistake in reverse: I live in since two years )
The first example is a continuous action, the person has been wearing glasses since the age of four.
In the following sentences the action is finished: They now know it and their life has changed.
That is why I feel, the past tense has to be used.
Hope this helps!
Hi Tom and Viviene,
If you turn the sentence around I think it is easier to see that it follows the normal pattern -
Je porte des lunettes depuis que j'ai quatre ans
It couldn't be the imperfect as you no longer are four years, so if it would be the perfect tense anyway.
But you would probably say -
Je porte des lunettes depuis l'âge de quatre ans,
avoiding the problem altogether.
Sorry about the delay as I can get bogged down in follow-up questions but I hope this helps!
this is a tough question for English speakers. I'll give it a shot.
In the first sentence you are still wearing glasses presently, so it is present tense.
In the second example, we still now each other today, so it is present tense.
In the third example, her life changed at a certain instant in time which lies in the past. Therefore the passé composé.
I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).
I understand Chris' answer to this question, i.e I understand why the _second_ clause is in the tense that it is in each example. What I don't understand, is why you would say "Depuis que j'ai quatre ans, je porte des lunettes" instead of "Depuis que j'avais quatre ans, je porte des lunettes". I take it for granted that the speaker is not four years old anymore, so why the present tense in the _first_ clause in this example?
Can someone answer Tom's question above? I had the same question about the use of present tense instead of imperfect when talking about being 4 years of age.
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