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    #1

    How long ...

    Hi

    Is it correct to ask someone: How long haven't/didn't you talk(ed) to anyone? (Can I add "ever" somewhere in this sentence?) And which is better "haven't" or "didn't"?

    Thanks

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How long ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    Is it correct to ask someone: How long haven't/didn't you talk(ed) to anyone? (Can I add "ever" somewhere in this sentence?) And which is better "haven't" or "didn't"?

    Thanks
    Given the meaning that I think you're aiming for - neither.

    How long has it been since you spoke to [name of person]?

    How long is it since you spoke to [name]?

    How long did you go without speaking to anyone? (This would suggest that someone has for some reason not spoken to a single person for quite some time!)

    How long did you not speak to your boyfriend for? (If a couple have an argument and the woman decides to stop speaking to her boyfriend, someone might ask her how long that situation lasted.)

    You might hear people say something like "How long haven't you smoked for?", if someone has given up smoking, but a better question would be "How long ago did you give up smoking?" or "When did you quit smoking?"

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How long ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    Is it correct to ask someone: How long haven't/didn't you talk(ed) to anyone? (Can I add "ever" somewhere in this sentence?)
    No, I don't think you can add "ever". If you haven't ever spoken to someone, "for how long" doesn't make sense.
    And which is better "haven't" or "didn't"?
    See the examples below.
    Thanks
    You can say this if the conversational context is set up for it.

    A: I don't speak to my father any more.
    B: Really?! How long haven't you spoken to him for.
    (Use present perfect because it's ongoing).

    A: Once I went for a long time without speaking to my father.
    B: Really? How long didn't you speak to him for.
    (Use simple past because it's over).

    Note that these are very colloquial,and they are acceptable (at least in AusE) because both A and B already understand the context.

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    #4

    Re: How long ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You can say this if the conversational context is set up for it.

    A: I don't speak to my father any more.
    B: Really?! How long haven't you spoken to him for. Can I change it into "talked to him"
    (Use present perfect because it's ongoing).

    A: Once I went for a long time without speaking to my father.
    B: Really? How long didn't you speak/talk to him for.
    (Use simple past because it's over).

    Note that these are very colloquial,and they are acceptable (at least in AusE) because both A and B already understand the context.
    Thanks

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How long ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Can I change it into "talked to him for"
    Thanks
    Yes.

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