For the following sentences:

  • Alex has been my friend for a long time.
  • Alex has been a long time friend of mine.

Do both of these sentences imply that "Alex" is still my friend?

  • Yes, I think they are correct with the same meaning. – Abbasi Jan 4 '17 at 19:33
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    Many would put a hyphen in the term "long time" when it is used adjectively: Alex has been a long-time friend of mine. Behold the ngram – J.R. Jan 4 '17 at 19:53
  • I am sure though there must be a difference if I say "Alex has been a good friend" vs. "Alex has been a good friend for a long time" I think the first sentence imply that Alex is no longer a friend. So, why don't the above two sentences in question aren't similar? – user92131 Jan 4 '17 at 20:06
  • @user92131: Using Present Perfect in something like Alex has been a good friend simply implies some strong connection to time of speaking. The connection could just as well be contrastive (he's no longer a good friend), rather than a matter of straightforward continuity (he was a good friend in the past, and he still is now). If the full context doesn't make it obvious, and you specifically want to convey that he's no longer a good friend, you'd use something more explicit, such as He was a good friend. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '17 at 20:17
  • @Fumble - Or Alex had been a good friend. Changing has to had creates the impression that the friendship may no longer be in tact. – J.R. Jan 4 '17 at 20:28

The first sentence is fine, but the second sentence is not very idiomatic. The verb "has been" is usually followed by an expression describing a time interval, unless the interval is already understood by both parties to the conversation. The phrase "a long-time friend of mine" does not directly express a time interval, even though it implies one. I would rephrase the second sentence as

  • Alex is a long-time friend of mine. (OK, but less common)
  • Alex is an old friend of mine. (quite common)
  • Alex and I are old friends. (concise, but less emphasis on time passing)
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