My address has changed since March 1. The new address is now 123 Mapple Street.

Is the verb tense in “has changed” correct in this case?

If the action is completed, it seems like it should be:

My address changed on March 1.

"Since" seems to imply a continuous state, not a one-time action, so something like:

I have a new address since March 1.

  • 2
    Your logic here is impeccable. Your second and third variants are correct; the first is understandable, but not idiomatic. – Erik Kowal Nov 17 '14 at 6:04
  • @ErikKowal: So a sentence like "The police will try to ambush me at my flat, but they don't know that my address has changed since March 1!" would be ungrammatical? – CowperKettle Nov 17 '14 at 6:06
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    @CopperKettle - It's not horrible, but it's not a construction that I would use; that said, I'd regard it as reasonably acceptable in speech, but not in formal writing. In addition to the OP's 2nd and 3rd variants, I'd suggest "My address has been different since March 1"; or, better still, "Since March 1, my address has been ...". – Erik Kowal Nov 17 '14 at 6:19
  • Your 3rd variant is incorrect in British English. Your 2nd is corret. – Rory Alsop Nov 17 '14 at 14:40

In British English, since does not work in the same way as foreign words often translated as since. I can’t speak for American English, although comments on the question suggest there may be a difference.

Since can indicate either a specific point in the past at which something happened, or a point in the past after which something happened. Which meaning is to be inferred depends on the tense of the accompanying verb. It does not apply to the future; the “something” happened in the past, and although its effect may still pertain, since must apply to the past.

Robusto’s handy aide-memoire chart at How do the tenses and aspects in English correspond temporally to one another? is useful.

My address has changed since March 1.

Your address has changed. It changed at some point in the past. The use of since limits the backward extent of Robusto’s “I have eaten” orange bar: the date it changed was after March 1. It’s perfectly grammatical; but it does not normally mean that you changed your address on March 1:

You wrote to me on March 1 at an address in London; but my address has changed since March 1 and that address is no longer valid.

“My address changed on March 1” means exactly what it says. The date explicitly specifies the date you move house.

I have a new address since March 1.

This is unidiomatic. Since either specifies a point in the past at which something happened, or a point in the past after which something happened. Neither of those can use the present tense, which is the bottom “I eat” line in Robusto’s chart. In this case the idiomatic expression is I have had a new address since March 1: the change took place in the past, on that date.

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  • I would say one of: 'My address has changed from 1st March', 'My address changed after 1st March', or 'That was where I was living on 1st March; my address has since changed'. – WS2 Nov 17 '14 at 9:54
  • 'Since' is a difficult word for many non-native speakers to grasp, it seems. Perhaps it's because it works differently in English to other European languages. In French, for example, 'depuis' has a wider mandate. 'J'habite Angleterre depuis trois mois' , meaning literally 'I am living in England since three months' - which is impossible to say in English. – WS2 Nov 17 '14 at 10:06

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