long since and long ago

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Is it OK to use long since and long ago in present perfect tense?

In a party, John met a lady and decided to know her. But he was occupied with some business which prevented him from talking to her. Later when he came out to look for her, he found she left an hour ago. His friend told him:

"She has long since /long ago left. "

Thank you very much.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You cannot use the present perfect for her act of leaving in the past if you also say when this took place. You need the past tense. "Long ago" is a lot more common, and "long since" sounds to me like some sort of dialect use.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Both of these refer to the present state. In the first thread this is very clear because you can use "is":
    English is a must for every educated person in the world.​

    As I said in the second thread
    "He has long ago departed without leaving a trace" does not really refer to the time that he left, but that, viewed from now, there has been no trace of him for a long time.
    However, this does not apply in your sentences in this thread. The person's leaving is recent and is clearly an action. There is no present state that can use the verb "leave".
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I'm very perplexed.

    "He has long ago departed without leaving a trace" works.
    "She has long ago left" does not.

    I can't figure out why. Departed and left both convey the action, in my opinion.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    We imagine that the first sentence refers to something that happened a long time ago (decades, perhaps) and, as I said, the entire focus is on there being no trace of him now. Even so, it is rather a literary use and not the sort of thing you would say in everyday conversation.
     
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