Common prepositions of time 1

Depuis usually means 'since' or 'for', and describes actions in progress, ones that started in the past and finished later. In French, we use it with verbs in the present or past tense.
Je t’attends depuis trois heures. I have been waiting for you for three hours.
J'étudie à l'université depuis 2009. I have been studying at university since 2009.
Depuis que je vis en Bretagne, il pleut tous les jours. Since I have been living in Brittany, it has rained every day
Pendant (meaning 'for' or 'during') refers to the entire duration of an action in the past, present or future.
Je vais habiter à Nantes pendant trois mois. I am going to live in Nantes for three months.
Je travaille pendant les vacances. I am working during the holidays.
J’ai voyagé pendant un an. I travelled for a year.
Dans (in) describes the start of a future action. We use it with verbs in the future and present tense.
Le spectacle va commencer dans dix minutes. The show is going to start in ten minutes.
Je t'appelle dans une heure. I will call you in an hour. (it's common to use the present tense for future events)
Il y a means 'ago' and describes actions that are finished. In general we use it with the past tense (passé composé).
Il est parti il y a dix minutes. He left ten minutes ago.
Note: Ça fait… que is an informal equivalent to depuis.
Ça fait trois heures que je t’attends. familier It's been three hours since I have been waiting.
Ça fait dix ans que j’ai fini mes études. familier It's been ten years since I finished my studies.

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