Consider the following sentence:

"The student did not come to the class for a long, long time."

Can a continuous time expression "for a long time" be used in this case, where past simple ("… did not come to the class") is used, or is it fundamentally grammatically incorrect?

Any alternative for saying the same?


The simple past can be used with facts or situations that exist or persist over time, or with a state of affairs. So there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the temporal phrase "for a long time" combined with the simple past.

During the flu epidemic, he did not attend classes for weeks.

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