Hadn't he been talking

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Terwexel

Senior Member
nederlands
Hello,

I would like to know if the following expression really exists in English, or if it is a matter of my native language interfearing with English.

"He said goodbye to Lily and left the room. His friend was no longer in the living room. Not surprising. For how long hadn't he been talking to Lily?"

The last sentence is meant to give a reason (the reason why it's understandable that his friend had already left) in indirect speech.

Thank you in advance.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    To be honest, I simply do not understand what is happening.

    He seems to be in a room,
    and Lily is in the same room.
    He says goodbye to Lily.
    He leaves the room.
    He has a friend (we will call him "John")
    John had been in the living room (Not the same room as Lily was in.)
    He sees that John is not now in the living room.
    He did not expect John to be in the living room.

    For how long hadn't he been talking to Lily? :confused: -> He seems to be asking himself how how much time had passed since he said goodbye to Lily.
     

    Terwexel

    Senior Member
    nederlands
    Thank you. Sorry I wasn't more clear. Lily is in a room where 'he' has a conversation with her. His friend has already left this room to wait in the living room. The conversation ends and 'he' goes into the living room to join his friend. But 'he' finds that his friend has already left. 'He' is not that surprised : his conversation with Lily lasted rather long. So "Not surprising. For how long hadn't he been talking to Lily? I could also say : "Not surprising. His conversation with Lily had lasted a long time." Because my sentence does not make any sense to you.
     
    Last edited:
    Do you mean it's not surprising that his conversation with Lily was rather lengthy, since he hadn't seen her in a long time?

    (So that they both needed extra time to catch up on things with each other?)

    I'm also getting gender confused here, since you're putting single quotes around 'he' which in English punctuation suggests the male might actually be female.:):rolleyes:
     
    Last edited:

    waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "His friend was no longer in the living room - not surprising, for hadn't he been talking to Lily for (quite) a long time?"
     

    Terwexel

    Senior Member
    nederlands
    Dale Texas: I didn't know that, about 'he'.
    Florentina 52: yes that's what I meant.

    Thank you all.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think this is a case for a tag question: "Not surprising. His conversation with Lily had lasted a long time, hadn't it?"
     
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