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Hello, all!
I'm not too sure about what's right here:
1. "It's been a long time since we met"
2. "It's a long time since we met"
I think both are right, but I don't know why 2. is right. Could someone please explain?
Both can be rewritten as:
3. "We haven't met for a long time", is that right? (long time no see...)

And: can it also work with
4. "It's months since we met"
5. "It's 2 years since we (last?) met"

Thanks in advance.
1 2 3
Comments  
Right and wrong... who can say.

Conversationally, I would probably say "It's been ages.. "
4 sounds OK
5 sounds like it's become a bit of an issue, and youv'e been ticking off the days on the calender.
Hello Pieanne

I also once queried this issue here. I tried to look for the archive using 'Search in Forum' but in vain. I think it's not so bad to repeat the same discussion with you and moderators.

First of all, I'd like to present you the result of a tentative google survey.
(1) "It is/It's a long time since I have/I've seen you" 199 [UK 46]
(2) "It is/It's a long time since I saw you" 68 [UK 18]
(3) "It has/It's been a long time since I have/I've seen you" 2871 [UK 141]
(4) "It has/It's been a long time since I saw you" 946 [UK 44]
(5) "It was a long time since I saw you" 9
(6) "It was a long time since I had seen you" 1
You can see type #3 is now the most popular usage in AmE as well as in BrE.

Historically, however, #2 seems to be the first appeared and most often used structure. OED indeed gives an explanation only to this structure, though it doesn't say other structures are vulgar.
[1535] It is now five and forty years since Lord spoke this unto Moses.
[1557] There are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem.
[1601] How long is it, Count, since the Physitian at your fathers died?
[1661] It is so long since I learnt it, that I have forgot a part of it.
[1711] Nor is it so very long since Richard the Third set up half the backs of the nation.
[1753] Tis an age since I saw you.
[1780] It is now above four years since I became the wife of a gentleman.
[1825] It is long since the kites have had such a banquet.
[1883] It is just a fortnight since Mr. Gladstone embarked.
1. "It's been a long time since we met"
2. "It's a long time since we met"
I think both are right, but I don't know why 2. is right. Could someone please explain?


The conjunction "since X-event" seems to have two functions. The first one is to make a time adverbial clause meaning "all the time from X-event to now". This was originally expressed as "ever since X-event" (EX: I have been a male ever since I was born. ^_^). The second is to make a noun clause meaning "the duration from X-event to now". The usage in this sense is now rare but the traditional structure of #2 can be interpreted as its remnant. This is my personal opinion.

paco
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Maybe it's works because one end of the 'long time' is pinned to the present.

With 'it's a long time', the speaker holds one end of a piece of string that stretches back to point Z ('when we last met') and looks down the string.

With 'it's been a long time', the speaker stands to one side of the piece of string and views the whole sweep from A to Z.

That may be nonsense...

(I don't find any of those phrases especially congenial: I think I'd say 'I haven't seen you for a long time'.)

MrP
Thanks, Paco and MrP.
I'm aware there are other "lighter" ways of expressing it, but I was wondering about THAT structure.
Funny that
(3) "It has/It's been a long time since I have/I've seen you" 2871 [UK 141]
seems to be the most used; a present perfect after "since" sounds weird to me...
I'll have to practise...
Pieanne

You are right. I too feel it's somehow odd to use 'since I have seen you'. If 'since' is a word to be used to anchor a past event, I feel it must be 'since I saw you'. As an interpretation for the prevalent use of 'since I have seen you', it would be possible to suppose that people might mean 'I saw you habitually in the days before the last meeting' (=I had seen you a lot before the time). Anyway I'd like to hear from native speakers why they feel this expression to be more natural than 'I saw you'.

paco
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Hi, Paco!
Anyway, as "it's been/is a long time since I saw you" is also correct, though less fashionable it seems, I think I'll go on using it!
'since I have seen you'

I'm baffled by that google...It sounds an odd formation to me. I'd say 'since I saw you' every time.

But the websites it brings up aren't particularly distinguished. Native speakers do tend to get their tenses in a twist.

MrP
Thanks for your comfort, MrP...
Can you tell me with a "yes" or "no", are both of the following correct?
1. it's a long time since I saw you.
2. it's been a long time since I saw you.
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