"Long time no see" means "I have'n seen you in a long time"?
Yes, as bhaisahab already said, that is what it means.
Regarding this expression, there is an interesting post by TheParser in this thread:
(1) I understand that it is an exact translation from Mandarin Chinese:
Hao = Very
Jiu = Long time
Bu = Not
Jian = See.
The "smooth" English translation would be "I have not seen you for a
long time" or "It has been a long time since I have seen you."
(2) If you meet someone from China, it might be better not to say
this. Perhaps some Chinese people might feel that you are mocking their
language. It would probably be safer just to use the English translation.
"It has been a long time since I've seen you."
I must say that I am unfamiliar with this way of speaking the language.
I've tried to explain the way to myself but I couldn't.
It's been a long time since I saw you. (Both of them know when they last met)
"It's been a long time since" could be the definite adverb of time for the simple past "saw" in the latter part.
On the other hand "I've seen you" in the latter part can not be used with the definite adverb of time.
Last edited by e2e4; 19-Sep-2010 at 22:06.
(1) I am not angry. I really do want a teacher to answer your excellent
question. I want to know the answer, too.
(2) I was able to find this in an outstanding grammar book:
It is/has been a long time since I have seen him. = I have not seen him
for a long time.
(3) Here is some more from that grammarian:
It is/has been 4 years since I have studied it. (refers to an action in
It is/has been 4 years that I have studied it. (the action continues)
It was 4 years ago that he died. (a point in the past)
It is 4 years since he died. (attention to a period of time)
(3) Your question is excellent: Can we say:
It has been a long time since I saw you. I really cannot answer
your question. I hope a teacher will enlighten us.