B1 - Intermediate
3 of 4

The past and time markers

The past and time markers

Learning Objectives 

  • Revise past tenses and their uses
  • Use time markers to locate events on a timeline
Yabla Banner

Key Words & Phrases

Il a pleuré toute la soirée.

Il pleure tous les soirs.


Il y a longtemps que je n’ai pas vu ce film.

Ça fait longtemps que je n’ai pas vu ce film.

Je n’ai pas vu ce film depuis qu’il est sorti au cinéma.


J’ai vécu à Paris pendant vingt ans.

Je vis à Nice depuis trois ans.


Il ne fume plus depuis des années.

Il a arrêté de fumer il y a trois ans.

Ça fait des années qu’il ne fume plus.


“depuis”, “pendant”, “pour”, “il y a”

time markers

time prepositions

Lawless French: “an” vs “année”

Le Cours de français: time markers “depuis”, “pendant”, and “il y a”

Le FLE pour les curieux: tenses of the past


Français avec Pierre: time markers “il y a”, “depuis”, “ça fait… que”

innerFrench: time markers “il y a”, “depuis”, “pendant”

Love Learning Languages: “an” vs “année”

Learn French with Alexa: “depuis” or “pendant”


Talk in French: time and duration

Lawless French: “depuis” vs “il y a”

Patenotte: all about chronology


Lingolia: practice “depuis” and “il y a”

Français facile: practice time markers

Didier FLE: Practice time markers

Ecoute: revise the tenses of the past

Using one of the recommended resources to get writing feedback, respond to the prompt below.

Translate the following sentences into French:

  • I haven’t gone to the cinema since last year.
  • We have been living in France for two years.
  • My parents have been studying French since 2016.
  • They studied French for a few months before going to live in Paris.
  • I didn’t drive cars for years after having an accident.

Using one of the platforms for finding a tutor or language exchange partner, practice the speaking activities below.

Partner Speaking Exercise:

  • Ask your partner at least three questions using time markers. You can talk about your occupations, hobbies, etc. Your partner can also ask you questions.

Example: Depuis combien de temps vis-tu dans cette ville ?

Je suis arrivé à Bordeaux il y a sept ans.

Independent Speaking Exercise:

  • Think about important events in your life (birth, success, diploma, travels etc.) – you can make events and dates up. 
  • Make three sentences about these important events, using “depuis”, “il y a” and “ça fait… que”. Don’t forget you might need a specific date (e.g: le 5 janvier 2019) for some phrases and a duration (deux ans) for others.

You can find instructions and a download link in our flashcards module.

Lesson Content
0% Complete 0/1 Steps