In Italian when you say that you have been doing something, unlike English in Italian you use the present tense, for example:.
- E.g. Studio qui da due anni = I’ve been studying here for two years. [Literally: I study here since two years].
Essentially when you talk about how long you have been doing something and you are still doing it you always use the present tense together with the word ‘da‘ which in this context means ‘since‘.
By contrast when you want to ask how long someone has been doing something (and they still do the activity) you use ‘Da quanto tempo…?‘ (literally: Since how much time…?) plus the present tense, for example:
- Da quanto tempo abiti a Londra? = How long have you lived here in London? [Literally: Since how much time you live in Fareham?]
Even though in English we do not use the present tense in this context, you must in Italian. The reason why is because in Italian if you continue to do the thing talked about you are seen as still doing it, hence why the present tense is used.
I hope that the above has helped you to understand how Italians use ‘Da quanto tempo?’.
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