Let's say I haven't seen my friend for quite some time. And I am out for a walk. I am going down the street and run into my friend. Do I have to use the present perfect or past simple in this context? For example:

I haven't seen you in ages. Where have you been?

I didn't see you in ages. Where were you?

Logically, I guess, it would correct to use the past simple, because I have met my friend and the fact that I haven't seen him for some time is in the past so the past simple is the tense to go. But, I don't know why the use of it doesn't sound quite right. What do you have to say about it. Which set of sentences sounds the most natural?


You use present perfect, because the time in the past is not specified:

I haven't seen you in ages. Where have you been?

You use past tense when you know exact time in the past, like: " I didn't see you yesterday."


"Where have you been?" means from a moment in the past until this moment in the present, that is why present perfect is appropriate.

I wouldn't use "I didn't see you in ages", I don't think that is correct English. If the moment of meeting again is set in the past, you could say: "when we met again I hadn't seen him in ages". Past perfect tense.

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