Since and sense are homophones, or words that sound the same but have different meanings. Because of that fact, they are very easy to get confused! However, they mean completely different things, so don’t get them confused. This is how you can tell them apart.
Sense is a noun or verb. It is commonly used to mean things that you can feel in the physical world, such as a sense of touch or your sense of sight. However, the noun form can also be taken to mean something that you feel, but is not physical. The best examples of these types of senses are a sense of hunger, a sense of being watched, or a sense of belonging. Any kind of feeling can be called a sense.
In the verb form, sense means to be able to feel these different things, whether physical or emotional. You can sense the warmth of a mug of hot cocoa, or sense movement from the corner of your eye. Either way, sense refers to feeling something, or taking in information from the environment and using it for some purpose.
Examples of sense as a noun
- I don’t know about you, but I have some real trouble feeling a sense of safety right now. I feel like everything is uncertain.
- I wish my sense of smell were better right now – those fresh baked cookies look absolutely delicious!
- Martha had the most sensitive sense of hearing I had ever known – she could hear you coming even if you tried to keep quiet!
Examples of sense as a verb
- Nancy sensed that something was wrong, so she gathered up all her things and left the building right away.
- Do not just sense how things are going; go out in the field and interview people to make sure!
- I walked around the house with a bat in my hands because I had sensed something walking around downstairs.
Since is a transition word and adverb. It isused to indicate the meaning because, or to indicate some sort of time. For example, you can start a sentence or phrase with since to mean because of (since he is here, etc.). When you are talking about time, you can use since to describe the time from which someone has done something. If you use since in this way, it means that the person or event is still happening.
Examples of since meaning because
- Since I have been here for the last five hours, may I go home first?
- I never thought that this would happen since I had sat down and thought through a hundred possibilities before I started.
- Since the President has declared she will not be afraid to persecute those who break the law, it is probably in your best interest to follow the rules as well as possible.
Examples of since meaning something related to time
- I have been playing the violin since I was three years old, so it makes perfect sense that I would get first prize in this competition
- Since the founding of the country, the President has been elected this way, so many people don’t believe that we should change it.
- Since Amy had wanted to buy the book since last Christmas, I decided to buy it for her even though she already bought three other books that she hasn’t yet read.
For each of these examples, the subject of the sentence is still doing what they have done in the past. For example, the first person still plays violin, an instrument that they have played since they were three years old. The President is still elected that way, and the last person decides to buy the book for Amy because Amy still wants the book after all this time.
Contrary to some other homophones, sense and since can be used in the same sentence. While it may be more difficult to understand which one is which when you hear them, when they are written, the words clearly have different meanings.
- Ever since I came back from my backpacking trip to Vietnam and Laos, I have had a broader sense of understanding of cross-cultural interaction.
- My sense of balance has always been incredibly good, so I think it was because I have been dancing ballet since I was five years old.
- Since in the 1800s, people have been interested in how the overall public felt about their sense of freedom and independence.
For each of these sentences, since has to do with time, and sense has to do with a feeling or perception. This is almost always the case.
More for you:
What does a dry sense of humor mean?