SEIT oder VOR: How to use them in present and past tense

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Content in this post
1. Introduction to Seit and Vor as prepositions
2. The difference between seit and vor
3. How to make sentences with seit and vor
Table of content for seit or vor

The appropiate usage of seit and vor in a german sentence is technical but not difficult. First of all, they don’t have the same meaning both in English and German. This makes it even easier to differentiate between them.

Nevertheless, a lot of people still find it challenging to use them correctly. I think this happens because they haven’t really understood what german prepositions are, the role they play and even how they are used in a sentence.

In a previous post, I explained the meaning of preposition likewise their different categories with given examples and how sentences are made with them. In other to understand this post, i recommend a prior knowledge of what a preposition is. See here

Difference between SEIT and VOR

Seit which means since in English is a core dativ preposition. What this means is that whenever it is used, the noun or pronoun that is directly after them must be written in the dativ state while Vor on the other hand is a two-case preposition which in this case is a dativ preposition. In this case, it takes the meaning “ago” in English.

With regards to tenses, Seit is used to indicate a present/ present continuous tense. That is, when something is still ongoing. While vor is used to indicate the past or something that is no more. See illustration below.

1. Seit zwei Jahren wohnt Silva in Deutschland.–– Silva resides in Germany since two year. (She is still in germany)1. Vor zwei Jahren hat Silva in Deutschland gewohnt.–– Silva resided in Germany two years ago. (She is no more in Germany)
2. Der Mann steht seit Morgen unter dem Baum.–– The man is standing under the tree since morning.2. Der Mann hat vor drei Stunden unter dem Baum gestanden.–– The man was standing under the tree three hours ago.
3. Ich arbeite seit 6 Monaten als Deutschlehrerin.–– I work since 6 months as a german teacher.3. Ich habe vor 6 Monaten als Deutschlehrerin gearbeitet.–– I worked as a german Teacher 6 months ago.
4. Wieso bleibst du seit gestern plötzlich in deinem Zimmer?–– How come (why do) you suddenly stay in your room since yesterday?Wieso bist du vor ein paar Tagen plötzlich in deinem Zimmer geblieben?–– How come (why have) you suddenly stayed in your room a couple of days ago?
5. Wartet ihr seit 6.00 Uhr auf dem Zug, der nach Hamburg fährt?–– Are you guys waiting since 6 O’clock for the train that goes to Hamburg?5. Habt ihr vor auf dem Zug gewartet, der 45 Minuten nach Hamburg gefahren ist?–– Did you guys wait for the train that drove to Hamburg 45 minutes ago?
6. Seit einem Jahr bin ich vegetarisch.–– I am a vegetarian since one year.6. Vor einem Jahr bin ich vegetarisch geworden.–– One year ago I became a vegetarian.
Sentences with Seit and Vor with respect to tenses

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