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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default in a long time/ for a long time

    Hello there!
    Thanks for your quick response to my last posting!

    I've got another question related to the prepostion.

    * I haven't heard from you in a long time. *

    Is the sentence correct?
    As I know, "for a long time" should be the correct phrase.
    I mean... [I have seen the movie in a long time.] sounds alright but the sentence above doesn't.

    Do the two phrases --in a long time / for a long time -- have same meaning and no difference??

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    They do and both are used, though 'in' is more colloquial.

  3. #3
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    Smile Re: in a long time/ for a long time

    Yes, they are the same, except in some very special phrases. For example, one can say "I have been sitting here waiting for a long time" but it would be incorrect to say "I have been sitting here waiting in a long time."
    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: in a long time/ for a long time

    Quote Originally Posted by Pollo View Post
    Yes, they are the same, except in some very special phrases. For example, one can say "I have been sitting here waiting for a long time" but it would be incorrect to say "I have been sitting here waiting in a long time."
    Hope that helps.
    That's a good point. Perhaps it's the negative that makes the 'in' version possible: 'I haven't had a cigarette in ages' (though not entirely laudable ). And perhaps the thing not done needs to be desirable... 'I haven't had a parking ticket in ages.' (That last one would only sound right to me if said sarcastically, as if a parking ticket was desirable.)

    b

  5. #5
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    Default Re: in a long time/ for a long time

    Hi there. One of my Chinese students was wondering about the difference between "in a long time" and "for a long time." I disagree that "in a long time" relates to something one likes. For example, you could say, "We haven't cleaned the latrines in a long time," right? I do think, however, that this form may be used for negative statements. "For a long time" seems more all purpose. What you all think?

  6. #6
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: in a long time/ for a long time

    What's wrong with cleaning latrines? :D

  7. #7
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: in a long time/ for a long time

    "in a long time"
    This phrase is often used with "for the first time," isn't it?

    For the first time in a long time, the Academy did NOT go ahead and make Clint Eastwood's day... | The Feinberg Files | Los Angeles Times
    For the first time in a long time, the Academy did NOT go ahead and make Clint Eastwood's day...

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