The big clock has been silent ever since.

Can I delete since from the sentence above or add then after since?

And what is the difference among them?

  • You can "delete" then (or equivalents such as that time) after since in such contexts, or you can discard ever, but it's not very idiomatic to discard both. Note that you can't discard the actual word since. Interestingly, I think we rarely include ever in negating contexts, so it wouldn't normally be included in, say, The bell hasn't rung since then. I can't explain why that's the case, but I'm pretty sure the principle is usually observed. May 30 '19 at 13:47
  • @FumbleFingers I have seen forms simialr to "The bell hasn't ever rung since then." when the intent is to strongly emphasize the finality of the cessation of ringing. And when the intent is to deny that an event ever happened, as in "I haven't ever been to Paris" the word "ever" is usually included. But that isn't a "since" form. "I haven't ever been to Paris since my marriage" is possible, but usually "ever" would not be included in such a sentence. May 30 '19 at 14:05
  • @David: Maybe it's just that in negating contexts like that we usually say I have never been to Paris since my marriage anyway. May 30 '19 at 14:25
  • The big clock has been silent ever since.
  • The big clock has been silent ever since then.
  • The big clock has been silent since then.
  • The big clock has been silent since that time.

These four sentences have essentially the same meaning. The version with "ever since then" emphasizes the time or event when the silence started more than the other forms do. The versions including "ever" imply that the silence is expected to be permanent. But these are very minor differences. None of these sentences makes much sense without some previous text indicating the moment or event which "then" refers to, the moment when the clock was first silent.

The question asks about omitting "since", which would leave:

The big clock has been silent ever

This is not a complete grammatical sentence as it stands. To use a form without "since" one might write;

The big clock was silent ever after.

This has much the same meaning as the "ever since then" form. But because "ever after" indicates a completed action, it is normally used with the simple past "was" rather than the "has been" form.

  • Can I omit ‘ever’ from those sentences?
    – Y. zeng
    May 30 '19 at 13:51
  • @Y. zeng Yes, i included "The big clock has been silent since then." as one of the valid forms. See also the comment by FumbleFingers on the question. May 30 '19 at 13:55
  • Can I say ‘The big clock was silent since’?
    – Y. zeng
    May 30 '19 at 14:00
  • @Y. zeng Without context "The big clock has been silent since" is both meaningless and ungrammatical. It could be the second half of a sentence: "The Queen died on June 15; the big clock has been silent since" or the second of two tightly coupled sentences, which allow an implied "then". And i think this form works better with "has been" than with "was". May 30 '19 at 14:11
  • The big clock was damaged many years ago and has been silent since. Is this sentence right?
    – Y. zeng
    May 30 '19 at 14:35

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