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I uploaded a photo and posted a caption on Facebook, but I’m not sure whether the tense I used is correct. So, I went to the gym and used an equipment (I used it before in the past, but I stopped for quite some time and now, I started using it again)

Haven’t touched this equipment for quite some time

Is this correct or “didn’t” should be used instead?

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    Welcome to ELL. Aside from your main question, you may want to note that equipment is generally uncountable, so you used a piece of equipment or you used a type of equipment or indeed you used this equipment, but not an equipment.
    – choster
    Jul 10, 2018 at 21:18

2 Answers 2

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If you want to reflect the fact that you have just used a piece of equipment which you had not used for a long time, your caption could say

(I) hadn't touched this equipment for a long time. Muscles (are) sore!

If you wanted to reflect the fact you are about to use a piece of equipment which you have not used for a long time, your caption could say:

(I) haven't touched this equipment for a long time. Hope my muscles won't be too sore!

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  • And for a Facebook caption, either one works, because people looking at Facebook realize they aren't sure if the caption is written from the perspective of just before the equipment is used, or just after, and they are able to make the mental adjustment either way.
    – J.R.
    Jul 10, 2018 at 21:59
  • The truth might be an empty pizza box. The gym equipment could be a sham.
    – TimR
    Jul 10, 2018 at 22:00
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    ...with the caption: Haven't eaten this much pizza for a long time! (Or Hadn't...)
    – J.R.
    Jul 10, 2018 at 22:02
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Haven't is correct, to indicate an ongoing action or situation. Other examples:

I haven't been to that restaurant in a few years.

I haven't played my guitar in a week.

I haven't seen a good movie in ages.

Didn't would generally be for events or actions that happened in the past and are complete:

I didn't go to that restaurant before it closed.

I didn't play my guitar at all this week.

I didn't see any good movies last month.

It's also informal but fine to omit the subject "I", since it's obvious that you are talking about yourself. This can vary with a different context:

(Watching another player lose a lot of money). (You) Haven't played much poker, huh?

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  • Hmm but why is it an ongoing situation when I already started using that equipment? Like I used it in 2012 and I stopped around 2016 but now, I just started using it again. So, if I use “haven’t”, doesn’t that mean from 2012 until now, I still haven’t used that equipment at all? Correct me if I’m wrong :) Jul 10, 2018 at 21:14
  • @Aesthetic_Bran - Think of it as "ongoing up to the time of speaking".
    – stangdon
    Jul 10, 2018 at 21:18
  • @stangdon I’m still a bit confused here. Because after I used the equipment, I took a photo of the equipment with the caption “Haven’t used this equipment for quite some time” and posted it on Facebook, but I realized it doesn’t make sense to me because I already used it so it’s not ongoing anymore Jul 10, 2018 at 21:28
  • @Aesthetic_B - I get what you're saying; you're wondering if it would be more accurate to say something like, "I hadn't been using this equipment for some time," because now you've started using it again. Sure, one might think that's a better phrasing; however, for a picture caption, it doesn't matter. Everyone reading the caption will get the gist of what you are trying to say: It's been a long time since I've used this equipment, but I've recently started using it again. Your original caption says that perfectly, and using didn't instead of haven't would make it sound awkward.
    – J.R.
    Jul 10, 2018 at 21:57
  • @Aesthetic_Bran Sure, of course it would be silly to say "I haven't used this ..." right after you finished using it. But native speakers often say things that don't make sense, or project as if they were talking from a particular point of view. But if you want to be accurate, use the past perfect, I hadn't used this equipment for some time, before today.
    – Andrew
    Jul 10, 2018 at 22:53

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