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Dear teachers,

1) Would you please tell me if the following constructions are correct in English ? and if yes, is there a difference between them?

a) It IS a long time since I SAW you.
b) It HAS BEEN a long time since I SAW you.
c) It WAS a long time since I SAW you.
d) It WAS a long time since I HAD SEEN you. (incorrect ?)

2) Would it be possible for you to give me exercises on that point of grammar?

Thanks a lot,
Hela
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Comments  
'Since' here indicates duration, so a perfect tense is called for:

a) X 'It IS a long time since I SAW you.' NO.

b) 'It HAS BEEN a long time since I SAW you.' OK.

c) X 'It WAS a long time since I SAW you.' NO.

d) X/b>'It WAS a long time since I HAD SEEN you.' NO. 'It had been a long time since I had seen you, so I didn't recognize you yesterday.' (We would expect 'saw', I suppose, but since the seeing predates the long time, I can see no way around this regression)

There are a lot of quizzes (google 'grammar quizzes') at various grammar sites, Hela, but I don't have a file of them. You might browse them yourself, or someone else here may have a 'since' quiz.
Thank you Mister Micawber,

I was not sure of b), c) and d) but I have seen a) in textbooks. So are you sure that a) is wrong? And what about e) "It IS a long time since I HAVE SEEN you" ? = correct ?
Are there any other possible combinations?

Thank you in advance.
Best regards,
hela
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As I hope I have told you, I am not in the business of building paradigms of hypothetical sentences; I am here to tell you which are acceptable and which are 'correct' if you wish to use careful, reasonably formal English. It is not possible for me to know what has been put into textbooks as good English, possible English, or, inadvertantly, as poor English.

(a) is wrong for the reason I gave, and so is (e), for the same reason. It is possible, nay probable, that people say either of these sentences, and I am sure that googling will turn some examples up as well.

TIME PASSING + 'SINCE' + POINT-IN-TIME

It is the tense for 'time passing' that is the critical one: 'It had been/has been/will have been ten days/years/a long time SINCE + (some point indicator)'.

'It has been fifteen years since I ate a good hamburger' is flawless.

However, many (including me) will say 'It's been fifteen years since I've eaten a good hamburger'-- here the use of the present perfect in the 'since' clause is brought about by the speaker's desire to connect the event to 'now'; s/he is thinking of all those missed hamburgers in between then and now. This form is so common that it must be considered acceptable in spoken English.

From there, it is a short step to the exclamation 'It's fifteen years since I've eaten a good hamburger!' (which I and others also say), where the first verb has been maximally reduced and the sense of time passing has been transferred to the dependent clause.

What people will not say is the unreduced forms: 'It is / it has been fifteen years since I have eaten', because we then enter the unreduced realm of formal, written English, which permits only 'It has been fifteen years since I ate a hamburger'.

Durn, I'm making myself hungry.

'
Thank you Mr Micawber, and I hope you're not cross with meEmotion: sad
(can I say "to be cross with somebody" like "to be angry with somebody"?)

See you,
Hela
I always get cross when I'm hungry.

Yes, you can say that; it is ameliorative (not as severe as 'to be/get angry with').
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Hello MrM

I googled the sentences as below. The result is somewhat astonishing.
The erroneous (3) surpasses the grammatical (4) 3 times in frequency.

(1) "It is a long time since I have seen you" 199 [46]
(2) "It is a long time since I saw you" 68 [18]
(3) "It has been a long time since I have seen you" 2871 [141]
(4) "It has been a long time since I saw you" 946 [44]
(5) "It was a long time since I saw you" 9 [..]
(6) "It was a long time since I had seen you" 1 [..]
(note): [..] is the frequency when the sites are limited to UK domain.

My grammar book says (2) is formal in BrE but it is in minority even in UK.

paco
I am not surprised, but my primary reaction is that none of these numbers are statistically significant. Discard Google hit numbers entirely unless they are in the thousands, and ignore any apparent differences unless they are in the 500% range, e.g. --

I haven't seen it - 220,000
I ain't seen it - 3,350
Hi MrM
Discard Google hit numbers entirely unless they are in the thousands, and ignore any apparent differences unless they are in the 500% range, e.g. --

How do you prove this is the criterion?Emotion: wink

paco
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