4 Vote

How long have you been in America?

I have been in America for ten years

I have been in America since 2000

Are both of them correct?. Thank you.

  • Posted Sep 16, 2010
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  • niiila, has vuelto! bienvenida a casa! :) - 00494d19 Sep 16, 2010 flag

10 Answers

3 Vote

"Since when have you been in America?"

This one presents a few problems. With your intended meaning, it's rather formal. "When did you come to / arrive in America?" would be more usual. However it also has another more common meaning (idiomatic) that would usually be said "Since when have you been in America?" (with additional emphasis on the 'you'). A possible scenario for its use: Someone (a friend, perhaps) is offering information/opinions about how things are in America. To the best of your knowledge (or to your certain knowledge), the person has never been to America but is pretending to be an expert on the subject. Thus the sense becomes "Y tú, a pesar de no haber ido a America, ¿cómo es que tienes tantas opiniones?"

As for the general issue of answering with a duration when asked for a date (or with a date when asked for duration), it's true that the answers are not directly responsive to the form of the question but the meanings are so similar and both ways of expressing the idea so common, that either sounds completely natural.

2 Vote

Thank you, Marianne. And what about "since when have you been in America?"

I have been in America since 2000.

But I was wondering if it is possible to answer "I have been in America for ten years" too.

These are perfect answers to a question about how long you have been in America.

I've been here for 10 years

I've been in America since 2000.

You could also say:

I came to America in 2000.

I came to America 10 years ago.


The question ""since when have you been in America?" will probably be phrased as "How long have you been in America?" or "When did you come here?"

1 Vote

Buenos días, Nila.

Yes, both are correct and sound very natural in English. The only change I would suggest is that you say "I've" because it's more commonly used in this context.

1 Vote

Yes both of them are correct. However, "I have been in America for ten years" puts the focus on how long you've been in America, while "I have been in America since 2000" puts the focus on when you came to America. But, at the same time, they mean the exact same thing. Hope it helps. smile

1 Vote

Thank you, Marianne. And what about "since when have you been in America?"

I have been in America since 2000.

But I was wondering if it is possible to answer "I have been in America for ten years" too.

1 Vote

Since the question began "Since when", the answer "since 2000" would be the "natural" answer. If you answer it it "I've been in America for 10 years" it wouldn't be responsive to the question in the sense that a question that begins "since when" is looking for a specific beginning point, and the 10 year answer leaves it to the questioner to do the math.

  • Ok, but I always use "I have" because I am writing and also one never says if I am referring to a conversation or to a writing. It can be an e-mail. - nila45 Sep 16, 2010 flag
  • It is never wrong to use I've in the place of "I have". Contractions are not slang...they are perfectly correct English grammar in speaking and in writing. - Echoline Sep 16, 2010 flag
  • Contractions are usually not used in formal written English other than in quotations or dialog. - lorenzo9 Sep 16, 2010 flag
1 Vote

OK, Samdie, I suspect that the type of question "since when have you been in America?" can have another meaning.

How long = cuánto tiempo

Since when = desde cuándo (with surprise). But I think it can be a question without surprise.

1 Vote

I suspect that "I have been in America for ten years" and "I have been in America since 2000" can be the answers for both of them. I mean, for "how long" and "since when". However, "since when" is the typical question for someone who has doubts about the fact.

0 Vote

SInce when does imply a more explicit answer than just pure duration.

0 Vote

I would say, "I've lived in America for 10 years," or, "I've lived in America since 2000." To me, that sounds more natural than "I have been in America for 10 years." (That almost sounds like you were delayed and had to stay for 10 years) tongue laugh

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