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  1. Fagin's Avatar
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    #1

    since he has smoked a cigarette

    I've been pointed into this part of A Practical English Grammar, by A.J. Thompson and A.V. Martinet:

    188 it is + period + since + past or perfect tense

    We can say:
    It is three years since I (last) saw Bill or
    It is three years since I have seen Bill.

    I last saw Bill three years ago or
    I haven't seen Bill for three years.

    It is two months since Tom (last) smoked a cigarette or
    It is two months since Tom has smoked a cigarette.
    He last smoked a cigarette two months ago or
    He hasn't smoked a cigarette for two months.
    But then there is another book, Advanced Grammar in Use, by Martin Hewings that says:

    Note, however, that we use the present perfect in the time clause if the two situations described in the main clause and time clause extend until the present:
    Have you met any of your neghbours since you've lived here?
    The two books clearly contradict one another. Which one should I believe?
    I am not a teacher. Neither am I a native speaker of English.

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    #2

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    What's the contradiction?

  3. Fagin's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    What's the contradiction?
    The quote from the second book (which I believe) suggests that the sentence "It is two months since Tom has smoked a cigarette." implies that Tom is still smoking the cigarette. He's been smoking it for two months. Which is exactly the opposite of what is said in the quote from the first book.
    Last edited by Fagin; 06-Mar-2017 at 23:13.
    I am not a teacher. Neither am I a native speaker of English.

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    #4

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by Fagin View Post
    "It is two months since Tom has smoked a cigarette." implies that Tom is still smoking the cigarette. He's been smoking it for two month.
    No. Tom hasn't smoked any cigarettes for two months. If what you say were true, that would be one hell of a long cigarette!

  5. Fagin's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    If what you say were true, that would be one hell of a long cigarette!
    And that's exactly what befuddles me. But Martin Hewings is explicit on this matter. Let me repeat:

    we use the present perfect in the time clause if the two situations described in the main clause and time clause extend until the present
    Otherwise a different rule applies:

    In a sentence which includes a time clause with since, we generally prefer a past simple verb in the time clause and a present perfect verb in the main clause. The time clause refers to a particular point in the past
    which means that a perfect English sentence should read "It has been two months since Tom smoked a cigarette"
    I am not a teacher. Neither am I a native speaker of English.

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    #6

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by Fagin View Post
    which means that a perfect English sentence should read "It has been two months since Tom smoked a cigarette"
    You mean "an English sentence that comports perfectly with Hewings's rule as I understand it."

    Your proposed sentence works OK, though an adverb would improve it: ...since Tom last smoked. The version with the present perfect works too. Can you fit the problem sentence into the rule if you understand the condition it has been two months as an ongoing one?
    I am not a teacher.

  7. Fagin's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Can you fit the problem sentence into the rule if you understand the condition it has been two months as an ongoing one?
    No. Unfortunately. Let me repeat the rule again:

    we use the present perfect in the time clause if the two situations described in the main clause and time clause extend until the present
    I am not a teacher. Neither am I a native speaker of English.

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    #8

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Right, okay, I now understand what you're asking. Maybe Hewings is not being clear enough but I can't say for sure without reading the source. The fact of the matter is that both sources are right.

    It is two months since Tom has smoked a cigarette.
    It has been two months since Tom smoked a cigarette.


    are both correct forms, and so you will hear both used. They are both equivalent to Tom hasn't smoked a cigarette for two months. I prefer to use (and teach) the latter.

  9. Fagin's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Maybe Hewings is not being clear enough but I can't say for sure without reading the source.
    If you have the book you will find this in Unit 3, Section B.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The fact of the matter is that both sources are right.

    It is two months since Tom has smoked a cigarette.
    It has been two months since Tom smoked a cigarette.


    are both correct forms, and so you will hear both used. They are both equivalent to Tom hasn't smoked a cigarette for two months. I prefer to use (and teach) the latter.
    Isn't this because the former is a bit equivocal?

    Ok! Thank you very much! It's 2 in the morning here and I need to have a sleep. Good bye.
    I am not a teacher. Neither am I a native speaker of English.

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    #10

    Re: since he has smoked a cigarette

    Quote Originally Posted by Fagin View Post
    If you have the book you will find this in Unit 3, Section B.
    Thanks, but I don't.

    Isn't this because the former is a bit equivocal?
    Yes, I suppose so.

    Ok! Thank you very much! It's 2 in the morning here and I need to have a sleep. Good bye.
    You're very welcome. Me too.

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