in a long time/ for a long time

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Anonymous

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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!
 

Tdol

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

Pollo

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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.
 

BobK

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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' :tick: (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
 

frederickrockett

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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?
 

konungursvia

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What's wrong with cleaning latrines? :D
 
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