• Paul and Jane moved to Paris two years ago.
  • It is...

If the starting words were "it has" I could have written "It has been two years since...". But the auxiliary "be" is used instead and I am not allowed to change it. I don't have a single idea what the solution might be.

  • 1
    Why do you have to use "it is" instead of "it has been"? That's much more preferable. "It has been two years since Paul and Jane moved to Paris.".
    – Kace36
    Jul 11, 2017 at 7:25
  • 5
    @Kace36 because the exercise is testing the student's knowledge. These are typical exam prep questions, you cannot change the words supplied, that would be too easy!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 11, 2017 at 7:34
  • 1
    It is Paris. Two years later. Paul and Jane are still unpacking.
    – Strawberry
    Jul 11, 2017 at 21:09

6 Answers 6


"It is two years since Paul and Jane moved to Paris." is still correct, even though less common.

For example, have a look at this quote by Sally Brampton (which is the best example Google spewed out at a quick glance — I'm sure there are many more to find)

It is two years since I emerged from depression and I no longer want myself dead.
I want myself alive.

You might also want to have a look at English Grammar in Use : a reference and practice book for intermediate students of English by Raymond Murphy.

  • Alright @Mari-LouA, I did as you ordered. The link did indeed provide an excerpt. But who knows how long Google might have kept up the link anyway. Jul 11, 2017 at 7:15
  • I tried that, but it's a scan, so no c&p. I added the title, though Jul 11, 2017 at 7:23
  • 3
    Agree with this. A small variant where "It is..." would be more natural (though not necessarily true in this case) could be "It is two years to the day since Paul and Jane moved to Paris".
    – TripeHound
    Jul 11, 2017 at 7:32
  • 1
    You're getting so many upvotes that I think it's worth the effort to...manually (eek!) type the explanation. "It is [time] since" is rather old fashioned, but it is still common in British English.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 11, 2017 at 7:42
  • @Mari-LouA I totally agree as well.
    – Kace36
    Jul 11, 2017 at 7:52

As Sprottenwels says in their answer (emphasis mine):

"It is two years since Paul and Jane moved to Paris." is still correct, even though less common.

You could make this more common by inserting the word now:

It is now two years since Paul and Jane moved to Paris


AndyT's variation on Sprottenwels' answer is probably the most natural sounding, but I'll offer this alternative (which is similar to a comment by Jim)

It is Paris to which Paul and Jane moved two years ago

This variant emphasises Paris (i.e. where they moved to) rather than the two years (i.e. when they moved), which might be desirable depending on the context. However, it's a slightly old-fashioned construction. The only similar quote I could find was from Jean Paul Sartre in his essay "What is Literature":

It is Paris to which writers from the provinces, if they are well-off, come to practise regionalism

  • To be honest this sounds more natural to me. "It is two years since" feels very odd (even though it's not technically wrong) Jul 12, 2017 at 11:03

It is the case that Paul and Jane moved to Paris two years ago.

There are many ways in which English speakers, and even writers, extend sentences without materially altering the meaning. Any assertion may be prefaced with one of these:

  • It is true that ...
  • Believe me when I say ...
  • Actually ...
  • The fact is ...
  • I can tell you ...
  • It is the case that ...

In using the latter, the speaker probably feels that the added phrase lends a note of authority or formality. It is often used when alternatives to the assertion have been suggested or implied.

  • I deleted my answer when I read this one more carefully (as mine was redundant). So I suppose +1 is only appropriate. By the way, if "It is true that Paul and Jane moved to Paris two years ago" is not considered to be a different enough re-write, consider: " If that's not "enough" of a re-write, then: "It is true that two years ago is when Jane and Paul relocated their residence to be in France's capital."
    – TOOGAM
    Jul 12, 2017 at 2:29
  • 1
    "It is a fact that Paul and Jane moved to Paris two years ago."
    – ESR
    Jul 12, 2017 at 4:32

Just to demonstrate that there are several ways to solve this problem, here's another one in idiomatic English.

It is the third year that Paul and Jane have spent living in Paris.

You can't change the verb, but you still have a ton of flexibility since the subject of the sentence hasn't been nailed down for you.


Just wondering, can't you use this?

It is two years ago when Paul and Jane moved to Paris.

Should "was" be used after "It"?

  • Yes. 1234567890 Jul 13, 2017 at 1:04

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