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If a person talks about:

"I haven't laughed like this IN A LONG TIME"

Does that mean he used to laugh a lot but didn't from a few years?

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  • FYI, we would say "for a few years."
    – BobRodes
    Feb 3 '18 at 23:43
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It doesn't mean that he used to laugh a lot: it simply means that it is a long time since the last occasion on which he did laugh as much as this.

What counts as "a long time" would depend on various factors, for example how old the speaker is (an eight year old might mean a week, a 60 year old a few years) and what the speaker hasn't done. Something that is not done very often, for example a foreign holiday. might imply years: something that is normally done frequently, like drinking tea (for an English person, anyway!) might just be days.

Another expression used in the same way is for ages: it can be used both about something that you have been doing continuously for a long time, or something that you haven't done for a while.

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    "it simply means that it is a long time since the last occasion on which he did laugh"... — laughed this hard (haven't laughed "like this"). He might have laughed in the past week/month/year/10 years, but it was weak laughing, because nothing was as funny as what the speaker has heard just now. Feb 3 '18 at 14:44
  • @tenebris2020, point taken. I have updated my answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Feb 4 '18 at 5:38

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