How long do you know him?

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Akasaka

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi all,

I heard that "How long do you know him?" is incorrect. It should be "How long have you known him?" But why is the sentence not correct? We could say, "How long do you watch TV a day?"

Thanks in advance.
 
  • emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Akasaka. It is "have" because we are referring to something that started in the past (and is continuing in the present).

    If it were something that started in the past, but is not continuing in the present, it would be, "How long did you know him?"

    "How long do you watch TV a day" is present tense because we are asking about something that someone does every day, at this present period of time in his/her life. English just uses the present tense in these situations.

    I hope this helps you.
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    If it were something that started in the past, but is not continuing in the present, it would be, "How long did you know him?"
    Hello emma42,
    What a good explanation. Wish my teacher is as good as you are in explaining grammar.
    BTW, "How long did you know him?" Is this sentence possible? I think it's usually impossible to "knew somebody in the past" and "don't know him now."
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Oh, thank you!

    Yes, you could know somebody in the past, and then lose touch with them. Or they might have died.

    John is dead.
    I'm sorry. How long did you know him?

    Do you remember David from primary school?
    Yes, but I didn't know him very well.
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Oh, thank you!

    Yes, you could know somebody in the past, and then lose touch with them. Or they might have died.
    Now I see what the sentence means. I thought to know somebody is to get acquainted with him.

    Thanks again for your help.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well, "know" can mean "get acquainted with", but its main meaning is "to have knowledge of", "to be acquainted with", "to be familiar with".

    Get (become) acquainted with

    I would like to get to know him better. He's cool.
    I would like to know him better. He's so handsome.
    Will you go out with me? I'd like to get to know you better.

    Have knowledge of/be familiar with

    I know Pete very well; we have worked together for twenty years.
    I am so glad I know you. You are a lovely person.
    Do you know Angela? She's very helpful.
     

    dalena

    New Member
    italian
    And what about "How long have you been knowing him?" I would like to know if it is possible to use the present perfect continuous with the verb "to know".
    Thank you,

    Dalena
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    And what about "How long have you been knowing him?" I would like to know if it is possible to use the present perfect continuous with the verb "to know".
    Thank you,

    Dalena
    Hello Dalena - welcome to the forums:)

    No - "know" is a stative verb, and we don't use it in the continuous tenses.
     
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