Ages+present perfect simple

pinball

Senior Member
Spanish & Catalan
Good morning! Does the use of right tense with ages depend on the verb? Examples:

1-It's ages or has been ages since I have known Peter or since I met Peter (I think this one is ok, but I'd say that since I knew or I have met are wrong because of the verbs).

2-It's ages or has been ages since I last saw you (I think this one is ok).
3-It's ages or has been ages since I have seen you (to me, this one is wrong becaused see points to a moment in the past, so it can't range from that past moment until now).

4-It's ages or has been ages since I last went to an Indian restaurant (in my opinion, this is good).
5-It's ages or has been ages since I have been to an Indian restaurant (I am unsure about this one, but it sounds good).

What do you think? Does it depend on the verb? At times the past simple, the present perfect or both.

Thanks again for your help!
 
  • donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Good morning! Does the use of right tense with ages depend on the verb? Examples:

    1-It's ages or has been ages since I have known Peter or since I met Peter (I think this one is ok, but I'd say that since I knew or I have met are wrong because of the verbs).

    2-It's ages or has been ages since I last saw you (I think this one is ok).
    3-It's ages or has been ages since I have seen you (to me, this one is wrong becaused see points to a moment in the past, so it can't range from that past moment until now).

    4-It's ages or has been ages since I last went to an Indian restaurant (in my opinion, this is good).
    5-It's ages or has been ages since I have been to an Indian restaurant (I am unsure about this one, but it sounds good).

    What do you think? Does it depend on the verb? At times the past simple, the present perfect or both.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Wow! This may take some time. I'm going to tell you what a speaker of American English would say. My British friends may tell you otherwise.

    1a. It's been ages since I met Peter. ('knew' and 'have known' are very rarely used to mean 'conocí'. 'Conocí' is almost always 'met'.)
    1b. I've known Peter for ages. (Hace años que lo conozco / Lo conozco desde hace años.)

    I do not usually say 'it's ages'; I'd be more inclined to say 'it's been ages'. This could be a tendency of American English or just personal preference.

    2. It's been ages since I last saw you. (--Te vi en la discoteca. --¿Cuándo me viste? --Hace mucho tiempo.)
    3. It's been ages / It has been ages since I've seen you. (Hace mucho tiempo que no te veo / que no te he visto.)

    4. :tick:Event. I went there.
    5. :tick:Ongoing situation. I haven't been in a while.

    Espera otras opiniones.

    Saludos
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, Don.

    Are you sure about "It has been ages since I've seen you." ?
    I'd be inclined to say either "It has been ages since I (last) saw you." or "I haven't seen you for ages".

    Gracias de antemano.

    GS
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hullo, Don.

    Are you sure about "It has been ages since I've seen you." ?

    I'd be inclined to say either "It has been ages since I (last) saw you." or "I haven't seen you for ages".

    Gracias de antemano.

    GS
    I am absolutely sure about it! I would say it, and I'm quite sure that I've said similar things for years.

    This sounds completely natural and idiomatic to me: "I haven't seen you for ages. It has really been a long time since we've seen each other."

    Maybe there will be other responses to the thread. You've raised an interesting point, and I'd like to see what other angloparlantes think about it.

    Saludos
     

    The Prof

    Senior Member
    Hullo, Don.

    Are you sure about "It has been ages since I've seen you." ?
    I'd be inclined to say either "It has been ages since I (last) saw you." or "I haven't seen you for ages".

    Gracias de antemano.

    GS
    I don't like "It's been ages since I've seen you" either. Your two alternatives sound much more 'correct' to me. However, despite that, I think I probably say it sometimes!

    Apart from that, I agree with everything that Donbill wrote (even though, as a Brit, I might occasionally say "it's ages since" instead of "it's been ages since).
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I have to add that "it's been ages since I last saw you" and "it's ages since I last saw you" sound perfectly okay to me. It's just that I see nothing wrong with "It's been ages since I've seen you." The first sentences refers to a specific point in time, the last one to an ongoing situation.

    Saludos
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think all of the sample sentences in Post #1 are grammatical, but I have a preference for "It's been" over plain "It's" and a slight preference for simple past over present perfect.

    Present perfect in this context carries a negative idea:

    Past: It's been ages since I last saw you. = "I last saw you ages ago."
    Present perfect: It's been ages since I have seen you. = "I haven't seen you in ages."

    Thus, "It's been ages since I have known Peter" (= "I haven't known Peter in ages") is quite a strange thing to say.

    On top of this, the verb met has two meanings and can refer either to a first introduction or to any encounter. Thus "It's been ages since I have met Peter" (= "I haven't met Peter in ages") refers to a lack of encounters for "ages", not the same meaning as "It's been ages since I (first) met Peter."
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Dear all,

    My impression is that since — pointing to a moment in the past when something took place — should require the Simple Past of the verb, while for, expressing duration, should require the Present Perfect, the main function of which is to aid the speaker in his assessment of the Subject's past experiences (usually down to the present).

    Since I came to London I've never been to a football match.
    *Since I've come to London I've never been to a football match.

    GS
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Dear all,

    My impression is that since — pointing to a moment in the past when something took place — should require the Simple Past of the verb, while for, expressing duration, should require the Present Perfect, the main function of which is to aid the speaker in his assessment of the Subject's past experiences (usually down to the present).

    Since I came to London I've never been to a football match.
    *Since I've come to London I've never been to a football match.

    GS
    Greetings, Giorgio!

    I agree that the second sentence in post #8 sounds strange, but my sentence 'It's been ages since I've seen you' does not have--at least in my opinion--the same time conflict. It means 'I haven't seen you for a long time' and, as I mentioned in a previous post, refers to a situation, not to an event. It's quite close to 'No te veo desde hace mucho', 'hace mucho que no te veo' or 'hace mucho que no te he visto'.

    I also agree with you that much has to do with the nature of the verb.

    a. *Since I've come to London I've never seen a football match.
    b. Since I've been in London, I've never seen a football match.:tick:

    I can think of contexts in which sentence 'a' might work, pero no quiero marear la perdiz.

    Thanks for making me think more deeply about this usage!
     

    pinball

    Senior Member
    Spanish & Catalan
    Thank you for your contribution guys! But don't you think that if it depends on the verb It's been ages since I have seen you might be wrong. You see someone (so I saw you at a moment in the past). Is it possible to say I have seen you for years? Well, if you can say I have known you for years, the former might have a similar meaning. Sorry for marear la perdiz!
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Is it possible to say I have seen you for years? Well, if you can say I have known you for years, the former might have a similar meaning. Sorry for marear la perdiz!

    I've seen you [in this place, at these events, engaged in this activity] for years
    . (I would probably add something like what I've put entre corchetes to clarify the meaning.)

    ¡La perdiz sigue en pie!;)
     

    FromPA

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I agree with the other Am Eng posters that "It's been ages since I have seen you" sounds very natural to me, but I have to admit that when I analyze it grammatically, I agree with the Br Eng posters that it doesn't make sense because "since" refers to some fixed point in the past whereas "have seen" implies an ongoing event.
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I agree with the other Am Eng posters that "It's been ages since I have seen you" sounds very natural to me, but I have to admit that when I analyze it grammatically, I agree with the Br Eng posters that it doesn't make sense because "since" refers to some fixed point in the past whereas "have seen" implies an ongoing event.
    Sometimes idiomatic use trumps logic, right?
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Indeed, Don.

    The word ages represents a quantitative notion, not unlike "three years", "two weeks", "eons", etc.
    I'd find at least "strange" if someone were to say/write "*It's been two weeks since I have seen Sue".
    So would you, I imagine? :)

    GS
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Indeed, Don.

    The word ages represents a quantitative notion, not unlike "three years", "two weeks", "eons", etc.
    I'd find at least "strange" if someone were to say/write "*It's been two weeks since I have seen Sue".
    So would you, I imagine? :)

    GS
    Actually, Giorgio, I don't find it strange at all. I agree with you and the speakers of BrE who have responded to this thread that chronological logic is on your side. Nevertheless, I'd use the construction that you've marked with the asterisk, especially in conversation, with no hesitation at all. I'll check with some of my colleagues to see what they think about it. I may have to alter a deeply engrained pattern of usage. It won't be easy!:)
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Just to add (as a BrE speaker) my support for Donbill. All that he says makes total sense for me.
    "It's been two weeks since I´ve seen my grandchildren," " It´s been ages since I´ve seen them," "I haven´t seen either of them for a year" all sound totally normal to my ears. The time period is continuing right up to now.
    But if I add "last" e.g. "it´s ages/two weeks since I last saw my grandchildren," I would use the simple past tense as it refers to a single point in time.
     

    The Prof

    Senior Member
    Just to add (as a BrE speaker) my support for Donbill. All that he says makes total sense for me.
    "It's been two weeks since I´ve seen my grandchildren," " It´s been ages since I´ve seen them," "I haven´t seen either of them for a year" all sound totally normal to my ears. The time period is continuing right up to now.
    But if I add "last" e.g. "it´s ages/two weeks since I last saw my grandchildren," I would use the simple past tense as it refers to a single point in time.
    I think that you have just pinpointed why I personally - and Giorgio - don't like "It's been two weeks since I've seen my grandchildren". In my mind, the "last" that you refer to in the last sentence is still lurking in the background in the first, even when it remains unspoken/unwritten. I'm not saying that I'm right, but simply trying to analyse and explain my own reasons for not liking the original sentence. :)
     
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    juan082937

    Banned
    español
    Hi Giorgi :
    I do believe that the crux of the matter are two particles since and for, in this case since. Since (preposition, conjunction, adverb) is used as you pinpointed correctly with the present perfect or progressive or as a conjunction with the linking verb 'to be'
    since: a starting point into the past
    for a duration of time.

    I have been waiting since ten o'clock a.m, since four p.m,
    I have been looking for my father since last year, since (conjunction) I was twelve years old.
    We have known about it since yesterday (adverb)
    He has been working in a bank since leaving school ( preposition)
    Since the party she had only spoken to him once (preposition).
    But on the other hand Don is a native and well spoken chap and for his ears it sounds okay.
    we have in Spanish -voy a por la prensa (newspaper) it is correct but I would never use it in my Spanish.

    Grammatically you are correct and I personally agree with you.
     
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