"Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten."
Translation:I have known her for two months.
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I think it is an inappropriate sentence. I learn German, not English. I have not learned the past tense or any other tenses in German yet. I do not know the differences between the German tenses. Why should I think, that the translation of this sentence in present tense in English was in past tense? I am not English... Give me back my heart! :-)
Heh, I made this exact explanation on the other discussion of this question (where the English phrase is in focus rather than the German).
"seit" is a dative preposition, meaning that whatever follows it is always in the dative case.
"Monate" is a plural noun, and plural nouns that do not already end in -n or -s gain an -n in the dative case.
This means that using seit puts Monate into the dative case, so an N is added, making it:
"den Monaten" or "seit zwei Monaten".
Check out this link for a handy list of dative prepositions:
Dative Prepositions - German.about.com
"Seit" does translate to "since", but in the context of time, it can also mean "for" or alternatively "since ____ ago". As in, "Wir laufen seit drei Stunden" translates to "We are running / have been running for three hours" or "We are running / have been running since three hours ago".
As roy00016 pointed out, a lot of native speakers also confuse this and would sometimes say in English, "We have been running since three hours".
Bottom line though is that it is OK to use present tense in German in this situation but not ok in english. So would this sound bad in German ...
Ich habe sie seit zwei Monaten gekennt.
If that sounds ok...than is it different from
Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten.
???? German so confusing!
wissen - ich weiß - ich habe gewusst - ich wusste
kennen - ich kenne - ich habe gekannt - ich kannte
You can't use "ich habe ... wusste" as that combines perfect past tense with the simple past tense.
i.e. perfect past tense: "Ich habe gewusst", simple past tense: "Ich wusste".
N.B. kennen means "to know, be familiar with" and wissen means "to know (a fact/a detail/when or how etc.)". In this case you would use kennen to mean "to know someone"
Why can't you use perfect or simple past tenses in this case then? Simple. The German past tenses are used to indicate that something occurred in the past, but no more. e.g.:
"Ich habe sie für zwei Monate gekannt" - "I knew her for 2 months" (but it was long ago; I don't know her anymore).
If you want to say that something occurred in the past, but is still occurring (i.e. you continue to know her), then you use the present tense in combination with "seit".
This is basically the equivalent of the English "present perfect continuous" tense, which takes the form "has/have -> been -> present participle -> time", e.g.:
"I have been living here for a year".
"Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten" - "I've known her for 2 months" (and I still know her).
This also works for other examples, such as:
"Ich habe Fußball für drei Jahre gespielt" - "I played football for 3 years" (I don't play anymore; my footballing career is over).
"Ich spiele seit drei Jahren Fußball" - "I've been playing football for 3 years" (it is still occurring; I didn't give it up).
Just a tiny nitpick, present perfect (or Perfekt) isn't used for past actions with no possibility of reoccurrence. Simple past/preterite/imperfect (Präteritum) is used for completed actions in the past.
The latter isn't even used in some dialects (I prefer it personally and do use it when applicable), and I only brought it up because I know for some people learning German it can get really confusing as to when to use which one. I've not even gotten to the past tense part so this site might just use present perfect, I don't know.
Lest I sound like I'm picking on you or anything, I've gotta say your response is super thorough and explains the difference in German as to when the present tense is still used in sentences like this.