Which tense is preferable after 'since when?'
Here are a few examples I have gleaned from the Internet:
Since when do I need your permission?
Since when do you have the right to tell me what to do?
Since when have you been interested in my feelings?
Since when has it been against the rules to have a coffee break?
Is there any difference between the use of the Present Perfect and the Simple Present in the above sentences? Can they be used interchangeably?
Thanks for your help.
Thanks Bhaisahab, but you DID NOT answer my question!
I already knew that the examples I provided were correct: I copied them all off an American website!!
My question was: how do I know when to use the Present Perfect or the Present Simple? Are there any differences in usage??
Since when means: From what time. This is an idiomatic expression, used in the form of a question when you do not believe a particular statement or attitude or situation is right or true and this may relate to any time frame: present/Past or future. So any tense form can be used with this expression. It may be present/past/future simple or perfect or perfect continuous.
Last edited by sarat_106; 13-Jun-2009 at 06:37.
Thank you. I just needed some kind of confirmation.
You know, if I stepped into my son's bedroom and found him smoking, I know I would. 'Hey, since when do you smoke?'
On the other hand, I would also say 'Since when have you been interested in politics?' after a friend's unexpected comment on the Prime Minister.
As I tend to go by ear in most situations, I was wondering if there was any rule governing the use of tenses after 'since when'. As a teacher I need to know. I just can't say 'Well, it sounds right. That's all'
It's trying to explain why which is always the hard bit.
'If I stepped into my son's bedroom and found smoking I know I would say:....
go by ear (?): hasty translation from the Italian. What I meant was :
'choosing what sounds right depending on the context.
Do you know that in English there's a similar expression 'play it by ear', which means 'to decide on one's actions as one goes along, depending on the situation; to play a song according to how it sounds, rather than from a written score; to do something by guessing, intuition, or trial and error; to react to events as they occur; to improvise or adapt your response to a situation as it occurs rather than make plans in advance'?
So maybe you didn't just make 'a hasty translation', it was your 'language sense' that was working!! Like the case of 'since when', this magic sense sometimes works far better than a general grammatical rule.
Thank you for your kind words, Mrs Irons.
I am actually familiar with the expression 'play it by ear' though as you pointed out, it's closer in meaning to 'improvise, decide what to do according to the way a situation develps, without making plans before that time'.
What I probably had in mind was, I'm afraid, something rather more literal. I suppose the two expressions overlapped in mind while I was writing ...and that was it!...
Once again, haste makes you write the silliest things, doesn't it?
Since when have we needed permission to smoke here?
(= How long have we needed permission...?)
implies a genuine interest on the part of the speaker in discovering the length of time in question, whereas
Since when do I need your permission to smoke here?
rather than a true question, is simply tantamount to the indignant declaration
I do not consider that I need your permission to smoke!!
On account of this derogatory implication, one would be unlikely to encounter a sentence such as
? Since when is it raining?
to mean simply
(For) how long has it been raining/How long ago did the rain begin?