For/Ago

Introduction

For and ago are both used to talk about time, but they are not used in the same way. Let’s take a closer look at when to use for and when to use ago in English.

Macy lives in London. She has lived there for 4 years.

She used to live in Cape Town. She lived in Cape Town ten years ago. She lived there for 5 years.

Every summer, she goes to Cape Town for a month to visit her friends.

It feels like a long time ago that she lived there.

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Ago

We use ago with a time expression i.e. 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 10 years to mean earlier, before the present time.

Example:
Macy lived in Cape Town 10 years ago.
It feels like a long time ago that she lived there.

Use ago in the past simple, not the present perfect.

Example:
She has lived in Cape Town 10 years ago.

For

We use for to say how long something lasted. For indicates an amount of time.

Example:
She lived in Cape Town for 5 years.

For can be used in lots of different tenses present, past, perfect and future tenses. It is often used with the present perfect.

Example:
Now she lives in London. She has lived there for 4 years.
Every summer, she goes to Cape Town for a month to visit her friends.

For the difference between for and since see For/Since.