2

I have written two groups of similar sentences below, but I don’t know in each group which sentence is the most natural way of implying the matter in my question. I was wondering if someone could help me:

A)
- 1) It’s one year now that you promised me.
- 2) It’s a year now that you promised me.
- 3) It’s one year now since you promised me.
- 4) It’s a year now since you promised me.
- 5) It has been one year now since you promised me.
- 6) It has been a year now since you promised me.

B)
- 1) One year ago today you promised me.
- 2) A year ago today you promised me.
- 3) One year ago at this you promised me.
- 4) A year ago at this you promised me.

3

My choice for "most natural-sounding option" is A-6, with the additional modification that "It has" would be contracted to "It's":

It's been a year now since you promised me (something).

This formulation focuses more on the passage of time; we are emphasizing that a long time has come and gone since the promise was issued. (It does not need to be exactly one year, you could reasonably say it any time from 11 1/2 months to 18 months after the date the promise was issued, although some people might nitpick at your accuracy.)

The first 4 options in set A ("it is a/one year now that/since you promised me") all use the present tense, which cannot work when speaking of something that happened in the past; option 5's use of "one" instead of "a" breaks the natural stress that should fall on "year".

Set B's choices emphasize our arrival at the anniversary date of the promise, which to me seems less likely to be the thing that we want to emphasize; within that set, however, option 2 is clearly the best choice, because using "a" instead of "one" lets the stress fall naturally on the word "year", where it belongs; and because options 3 and 4 have no referent for the pronoun "this", making them improper.

3

In group A, the versions with "has been" (or "'s been") and "since" sound the most natural. I would actually say the "now" sounds perfectly fine. As for the distinction between "a" and "one", it all depends on what you want to focus on (but "now" sounds better with the "a" version to me, not sure why) - for instance, if somebody promised they would change jobs if nothing improved at work for a year, then "one year" might fit better than "a year".

So, on the whole, out of group A, my two picks would be:

"It's been one year since you promised me."

"It's been a year [now] since you promised me."

(obviously "has been" would also work, but "'s been" sounds more natural in spoken English, which this seems it might be...)

As for group B, both B1 and B2 are good. "At this" is definitely out of place, but, as in group A, whether to use "a" or "one" would largely depend on context and individual style.

3

My personal choice from those presented is B-2

In group A the word 'now' would not be commonly used. Rather than saying 'one', 'a'is more common.

In group B the phrase 'at this' is out of place and should be dropped.

Hope it helps :D

Edit:* Glad it helped :D

I would choose "6) It has been a year now since you promised me."

If I were to rephrase it to my own vernacular I would say:

"It has been a year since you promised me that ..."

"...you would stop shaving the cat."

"...you would get me a pet monkey."

"...was the last time you were going to dye your hair purple."

Note the different use of the word 'that' in the third example. In the first two, 'that' refers to the promise. In the third, 'that' refers to the time they performed the act they then promised not to do again.

'Now' can be used in two ways conversationally. First is to denote the present time: "Now is the time for change."

The other way is as a demand for attention: "Now, a year ago you promised me that you would get a haircut". In this case (I think) there is an unstated "Pay Attention", so the second sentence could be restated PAY ATTENTION NOW, A year ago you promised..."

I'm not a grammarian though, so I am Glad it helped :D

I would choose "6) It has been a year now since you promised me." If I were to rephrase it to my own vernacular I would say "It has been a year since you promised me that ..."

"...you would stop shaving the cat." "...you would get me a pet monkey." "...was the last time you were going to dye your hair purple."

Note the different use of the word 'that' in the third example. In the first two, 'that' refers to the promise. In the third, 'that' refers to the time they performed the act they then promised not to do again.

'Now' can be used in two ways conversationally. First is to denote the present time: "Now is the time for change."

The other way is as a demand for attention: "Now, a year ago you promised me that you would get a haircut". In this case (I think) there is an unstated "Pay Attention", so the second sentence could be restated PAY ATTENTION NOW, A year ago you promised..."

3
  • Thanks a million @TedEwen. But one just could you please tell me how should I rephrase the sentences in group "a". Just I need one sentence to know how to say that? ;)
    – A-friend
    Apr 16 '14 at 21:00
  • Glad it helped :D I would choose "6) It has been a year now since you promised me."
    – TedEwen
    Apr 17 '14 at 8:43
  • I updated my answer as well.
    – TedEwen
    Apr 17 '14 at 9:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.