We've been living here since about eight years ago

mauro63

Senior Member
Spanish - Argentina
I have read the following explanation and examples on the grammar book (Practical English Usage) by M. Swan .
Could anyone tell me your opinion about it?
An expresion with ago refers to a finished time, and is normally used with a past tense, not a present perfect.
However, a present perfect tense is used with since...ago( as with since+any other time expression)

+ We've been living here since about eight years ago
+ I haven't bought any since a week ago

Could I also say, with the same meaning ,we've been living here for about eight years ?
Thanks in advance:)
 
  • padredeocho

    Banned
    United States
    I have read the following explanation and examples on the grammar book (Practical English Usage) by M. Swan .
    Could anyone tell me your opinion about it?
    An expresion with ago refers to a finished time, and is normally used with a past tense, not a present perfect.
    However, a present perfect tense is used with since...ago( as with since+any other time expression)

    + We've been living here since about eight years ago
    + I haven't bought any since a week ago

    Could I also say, with the same meaning ,we've been living here for about eight years ?
    Thanks in advance:)
    We've been living here since about eight years ago - YUCK.
    I would write "We've been living here for about eight years."

    I haven't bought any since a week ago
    BETTER: It's been a week since I've bought any

    Or, "I bought some, but that was a week ago."
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    The meaning is the same. The time frame is equally imprecise in both sentences, approximating eight years.
    I agree. I prefer "for eight years" or simply "eight years", but I would not be the slightest bit bothered with "since eight years ago".

    It seems this has already been discussed, just a bit less than a year ago, although there are some additional nuances:

    link

    Gaer
     

    padredeocho

    Banned
    United States
    I agree. I prefer "for eight years" or simply "eight years", but I would not be the slightest bit bothered with "since eight years ago.

    It seems this has already been discussed, just a bit less than a year ago, although there are some additional nuances:

    link

    Gaer
    since + ago = weird
     

    padredeocho

    Banned
    United States
    Is this your opinion, or are you stating a fact? :confused:
    I consider myself an English expect, and I have been a write for years. I think that combination is weird, and I have never seen an educated writer use it. If you can show me an example, I will quickly admit I was wrong.

    Since + Ago = weird in my opinion.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I consider myself an English expect, and I have been a write for years. I think that combination is weird, and I have never seen an educated writer use it. If you can show me an example, I will quickly admit I was wrong.

    Since + Ago = weird in my opinion.
    The problem with labeling something as "weird" is that the word itself is vague. "YUCK" is even less help.

    I was hoping you would be clearer.

    I will be. Let me use two examples:

    1)
    I live here since eight years.

    This sounds "foreign" to me. It is a literal translation of a phrase that works in German. I would not expect anyone who grows up speaking English as his first language to say that. If I said "weird" here, I would mean "strange in the manner of someone who is not quite comfortable with idiomatic English".

    2)
    —Since when?
    —Oh, I don't now. [Since] a couple years ago, I guess…

    This sounds a bit sloppy and very informal, but it would never occur to me to say, "That's sounds unnatural in a conversation."

    In order to understand what you mean by "weird", I need context. In formal writing it's simply wrong, in my opinion. In that context I fully agree with you.

    I would also be shocked to find it in narrative, same reasoning.

    I would not even be slightly surprised to find it in dialogue.

    Gaer
     

    SaritaMija

    Senior Member
    English-United States
    I am not an expert, but I would associate "since" with an event that occurred, or a specific instance or date, and "ago" with something indefinite (This construction is unlike the spanish construction "desde hace"

    ex:
    We've lived here since July.
    We've lived here since John was born

    -or-

    We moved eight years ago.

    That help?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Originally Posted by padredeocho
    I consider myself an English expect, and I have been a write for years. I think that combination is weird, and I have never seen an educated writer use it. If you can show me an example, I will quickly admit I was wrong.
    Since + Ago = weird in my opinion.
    Since a year ago (44,200) - from the first ten:

    Accumulative exports from January to October were $49.3 billion, a 9-percent increase since a year ago. US Department of Agriculture

    But, the problems of Caribbean airlines have not changed since a year ago. BBC

    Since two years ago (27,700) - from the first ten:

    The shape of Kennedy Island (the closest beach) has changed since two years ago. PCR Foundation

    And so it goes on.

    Well, that looks like three examples, at least one must be from an educated writer.

    Your call, padredeocho.
     

    Kevman

    Senior Member
    USA English
    To add some analysis to panjandrum's empirical data, "eight years ago" is a point in time, as is "a week ago" or "yesterday", so I see no reason why you can't use since to refer to a span of time beginning with that point.

    I haven't opened a book since yesterday.
    I haven't opened a book since a week ago.
    I haven't opened a book since eight years ago.

    I'm going to have to agree with Michael Swan's grammar book on this one (I presume he is also somewhat educated).
     

    mauro63

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    To add some analysis to panjandrum's empirical data, "eight years ago" is a point in time, as is "a week ago" or "yesterday", so I see no reason why you can't use since to refer to a span of time beginning with that point.

    I haven't opened a book since yesterday.
    I haven't opened a book since a week ago.
    I haven't opened a book since eight years ago.

    I'm going to have to agree with Michael Swan's grammar book on this one (I presume he is also somewhat educated).
    Thanks to everyone but I admit this is the soundest argument read so far.
    I'd like to know your opinion about this:
    " I haven't opened a book since eight years ago ", could I rephrase it like:
    It's been eight years since I opened a book. Give me the best option .
    Thank you all in advance ;)
     

    Kevman

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'd like to know your opinion about this:
    " I haven't opened a book since eight years ago ", could I rephrase it like:
    It's been eight years since I opened a book. Give me the best option .
    To clarify: I'm agreeing with Swan on the issue of the grammaticality of since...ago.

    You can certainly rephrase these sentences as you have done. I haven't opened a book since eight years ago and It's been eight years since I opened a book are essentially equivalent. If I had to choose which I prefer personally (and presuming there is no other context affecting my decision) I would probably pick the It's been eight years... version. That does not mean that the since...ago construction is wrong, or even that situations can't be conceived of where I might actually prefer it (panjandrum's examples, for instance, are all pretty good).


    Oh yeah, and regarding our opinion of the explanation in your text, I notice that all the examples that have been produced in the thread so far evince exactly that tense shift between ago phrases and since...ago phrases. We all seem to have done that unconsciously as native speakers, so I'd say that the text is pretty accurate there! :)
     

    Ichiroichiro

    New Member
    Japanese
    Some of the English speakers around me mention that if you say like this, 'since...ago ' would be natural.

    I have been here since two Mondays ago.

    Do you agree with this? Thank you!!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I have been here since two Mondays ago.
    I'm afraid this sounds quite awkward to me. It would be like saying "I've been here since two Junes ago" (instead of "I've been here since two years ago" or "I've been here for two years").

    We'd normally say, "I've been here since two weeks ago" or "I've been here for two weeks". Or, if it's important to specify the day and date: "I've been here since Monday, June 16th."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I wouldn't say it's controversial. I'd say it isn't the sort of thing you would see in careful writing.

    However, in speech - if someone is thinking aloud - they might say: "How long have I been here? Er...let's see, I've been here since Monday...no, wait a minute - it was two Mondays ago that I first came - yes, I've been here since two Mondays ago." It sounds odd and awkward to me, but in casual speech it might be heard I suppose.
     

    psyche83

    New Member
    Hungarian
    We've been living here since about eight years ago - YUCK.
    I would write "We've been living here for about eight years."

    I haven't bought any since a week ago
    BETTER: It's been a week since I've bought any

    Or, "I bought some, but that was a week ago."
    I haven't bought any since a week ago?


    Why is it needed to use two time-determiners here?

    Why isn't it enough that

    I haven't bought any since a week.

    or

    I haven't bought any a for a week.
     
    Last edited:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I haven't bought any since a week ago?


    Why is it needed to use two time-determiners here?

    Why isn't it enough that

    I haven't bought any since a week.

    or

    I haven't bought any a for a week.
    You have read that most English speakers prefer "I haven't bought any a for a week." to "I haven't bought any since a week ago." The second is "technically correct", from a grammar perspective, because "since" is followed by a specfic timepoint (a week ago). It is just awkward and would be rarely used. However, "I haven't bought any since a week." is incorrect, because in English (and this is different in some other languages) we cannot use "since" followed by a duration.
     

    psyche83

    New Member
    Hungarian
    You have read that most English speakers prefer "I haven't bought any a for a week." to "I haven't bought any since a week ago." The second is "technically correct", from a grammar perspective, because "since" is followed by a specfic timepoint (a week ago). It is just awkward and would be rarely used. However, "I haven't bought any since a week." is incorrect, because in English (and this is different in some other languages) we cannot use "since" followed by a duration.
    "I haven't bought any since a week ago."

    So here the "ago" refers to the timepoint, that is why the since can be stand before ago, right?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "I haven't bought any since a week ago."

    So here the "ago" refers to the timepoint, that is why the since can be stand before ago, right?
    Yes. When I say now (i.e., Monday at 11 am) "It was exactly one week ago that I had my car crash" it refers to the specific timepoint "11 am on Monday of last week".
     
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