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Hi,
I have a big problem! I am not sure how to use (for) long in questions and negative sentences. Should I leave out for in American English?

Don't worry. I haven't waited (for) long.
Don't worry. I haven't been waiting (for) long.
I'm not tired yet. I haven't written (for) long.
I'm not tired yet. I haven't been writing (for) long.
I want to stay some more. I haven't been here (for) long.
I've never spoken (for) long in front of an audience.
I don't know what happens if you try for more than three hours, I've never tried (for) long.

Have you been studying (for) long?

Cases like those give me a headache. Some sound bad, some sound bad without for, and I don't know why. If I try to search for "I haven't waited for long" on Google, I only get two results, and one of them is mine! I was so shocked, LOL.
So, could someone give me some tips? I'm afraid grammar books don't explain this stuff very well. Thanks. Emotion: smile
Comments  
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Well, at least I can give you my feeling of naturalness:

Don't worry. I haven't been waiting long.
I'm not tired yet. I haven't been writing long.
I want to stay some more. I haven't been here long.
I've never spoken long in front of an audience.
I don't know what happens if you try for more than three hours, I've never tried that long.

Have you been studying long?
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Thanks MM. Looks like my dictionaries are a little bit misleading and confusing. I'd better try to forget for long, at least for now. Emotion: wink
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KooyeenIf I try to search for "I haven't waited for long" on Google, I only get two results, and one of them is mine! I was so shocked, LOL.
I'm not. I'd say this has to do with verb tense, and not just with the word 'for', however. The present perfect progressive adds a sense of duration to the verb and brings the waiting right up to the present moment. I'd say the word 'for' would normally be omitted by a speaker of AmE if the present perfect progressive is used, but I also wouldn't be shocked if it were used in this sentence (i.e. haven't been waiting [for] long).
The present perfect simple is more similar to the simple past tense. If an American speaker views the wait simply as a single and completed past activity, then the most likely choice of tense will be the simple past -- no matter how recently the wait ended. The use of 'for long' is probably more likely (though 'for' is not really necessary) with the simple past tense. Try googling "didn't wait for long". Emotion: wink
Hi Amy,
thanks, I see. But I think I'd better use "long" and leave "for" alone, at least for now, or I'll end up using weird sentences as I've been doing, as always.
YankeeTry googling "didn't wait for long"
Hmm...
"didn't wait for long" ---> 7 pages of results.
"didn't wait long" -------> 88 pages of results.

But let's not take those results as if they were accurate, even though they are the actual clickable results, because I recently found out Google doesn't even return those correctly. Emotion: smile
Hi Kooyeen
My point was that I think it more likely that you'll hear the 'for' used with the simple past tense, but also that the use of 'for' isn't actually necessary. I only suggested googling since that is exactlywhat you had already done. Emotion: wink
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YankeeI only suggested googling since that is exactly what you had already done.
Well, I always use Google, maybe too much, so you don't have to worry about that, lol. Emotion: stick out tongue
Thanks!

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