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Let's say you are an ESL that has been learning English for numerous months. Because of this, you haven't used your mother tongue to converse since your English learning started. One day, one of your ex-batchmates who speaks the same native language as you do chat you online. And you say:

"Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had for a long time since my English review."

This is unusual sentence, I think, because I have used present perfect with ''for'' and ''since'' all in the same sentence, which I doubt if it is correct as this is my first time constructing this type of sentence.

Can I really use this particular sentence without being ungrammatical?

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    This is a tough question to earn a bounty on, since the simple answer is "of course it's grammatically correct, I'm not sure why you would think otherwise." – Chappo Oct 8 '18 at 12:56
  • Hello, no one answers it. This is important as this will make a person's expression clearer. – – John Arvin Oct 8 '18 at 16:22
  • I don't quite understand why you need that for a long time in the first place. If by long time you mean the length of the conversation, then it's redundant, that is, not needed. But if for a long time refers to the time passed since the English review, then why not say "Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had since my English review, which is a long time!" – brilliant Oct 9 '18 at 13:43
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The problem here is that "in a long time" and "since my English review" both convey the amount of time it has been since you last spoke. The tenses do not need to be changed, but you need a separator to indicate that the second phrase is a refinement of the first.

Also you should use "in" instead of "for" if you are referring to a language you have NOT used in some time.

Personally I'd say

Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had in a long time---since my English review!

or perhaps

Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had in a long time, at least since my English review!

  • Is the expression ''I haven't seen in a long time'' correct and the same as what I am asking? – John Arvin Oct 8 '18 at 16:25
  • In that context either "in" or "for" sounds fine to me and they are interchangeable. Unfortunately I'm having a very hard time coming up with a general rule for when to use "in" and when to use "for." There are some cases where one is preferred, some the other, and some where they are both fine. I'm sorry I can't fully clarify this issue. – farnsy Oct 8 '18 at 17:06
  • Got it. However, when it comes to ''in'' or ''for'' usage according to different situations, it seems you need experience or constant exposure. Oh man. – John Arvin Oct 9 '18 at 4:46
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Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had for a long time since my English review.

in technicality is correct, but it can imply one of the 2 things, "This is the longest time I've been conversing in my native language for" and "This is the first time in a long time that I've conversed in my native language for such a long duration".

Personally I would rather use:

Wow! This is the longest native language conversation I've had in a long time since my English review.

Which would imply "This is the longest conversation I've had in my native language in a long time!".

So in short, yes, it can be considered as correct. But there are better ways of conveying this sentence.

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I would punctuate as follows:

Wow, this is the longest native language conversation I have had for a long time —since my English review.

and would understand the sentence as two separate sentences separated by the dash, the second one rather elliptical: "not since before my English review have I've spoken at such length in my native tongue".

The idiomatic and non-elliptical version of which would be:

I have not spoken at such length in my native language for a long time—not since my English review.

When "for a long time" and "since my English review" are in the same clause, it doesn't make sense. Compare:

I'm really hungry. I have not eaten for a long time since yesterday.

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