I want to write the following for shortening and for translation accuracy from

Do you know how many years have been passed since your existence?


Do you know how many years have been passed on you?

Would the latter be a valid equivalent for the former? Because it is not correct to say/write:

Do you know how many years have been passed since you?

According to my search, I found the verb "pass" come with from and since in this specific meaning but not with on except if the meaning would be: give, refuse, or die.

  • 3
    Is the first sentence a question asked to a ghost?
    – James K
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:32
  • @JamesK _ Actually to a sea. The speaker is talking with it as if it was a person. Jul 17, 2019 at 16:39
  • 1
    That is an important piece of context! Does the sea exist when the person is talking to it?
    – James K
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:41
  • @JamesK _ Yes, of course. The question, in fact, is: "Do you know how many thousands have been passed (since your existence / on you)?" - I have changed it a bit for simplicity. Jul 17, 2019 at 16:43
  • 1
    By "changing for simplicity" you have also changed the meaning. It is better to ask about the actual sentence. Now finally we still need some more context: Who is saying this? Is this a quote from a book? Something that you made up? A situation that you have been in yourself? Did you see this written or did you hear it? (if heard are you sure it is "passed" and not "past").
    – James K
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Although I can understand what you are trying to say, none of your sentences really sound like natural English. They are grammatical, but the word choice sounds like a direct translation from another language, and not how a native speaker might phrase the question.

As an expression of the passing of time, asking "How many years have passed since you were born" is grammatical, but odd without any context. Most people would just ask:

Do you know how old you are?

It's fine with other significant events. Some examples:

Do you know how many years have passed since you graduated high school?

Do you know how many years have passed since you last visited your home town?

Do you know how many years have passed since you spoke to your childhood friend?

"Passed on" is not a substitute for "passed since". "Passed on" or just "passed" is actually a common euphemism for "died".

Many years have passed since my grandmother passed on, but sometimes I speak to her as if she could still hear me.

"Pass on" can also describe an object (of some importance) that is passed from one person to another, usually in some formal context such as a legacy:

Before my wedding, my mother passed on her wedding ring to me, and now I'm passing it on to you, my daughter.

Keep in mind that the usage of pass in "pass since" is somewhat figurative, as it metaphorically indicates the movement of time going by. In the same way a person can "pass by" a friend without recognizing them, you can say something like:

As I get older, sometimes it seems as if years can pass by without me even noticing.

Other phrasal verbs such as "pass from" and "pass to" are possible, but more difficult to fit into the metaphor related to the passage of time.

  • Thank you a lot for this informative answer, Andrew! So, do I conclude that the second structure is incorrect and is impossible to be rephrased correctly? Jul 17, 2019 at 16:41
  • @TasneemZH Actually there is an alternate use of "pass on" which I should include in my answer, but it doesn't have to do with the passage of time.
    – Andrew
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:42
  • Please do. I would like to know it in any case. Jul 17, 2019 at 16:43

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