So I was helping my friend with her English and she asked me to explain this question:

When did you first meet him? -> How long have you met him?

I know the form When did + Subject + first + Verb => How long have/has + Subject + Past Participle is correct but I just think the sentence How long have you met him sounds a little bit wrong and I just want to explain it correctly to her so if anyone can help me check if the sentence is correct and explain it to me I'd be very thankful.

  • 1
    The formula "When did + Subject + first + Verb => How long have/has + Subject + Past Participle" only works when the activity is ongoing. "When did you first swim? How long have you swum?" "Meeting" someone is an activity that can't go on indefinitely. Aug 24, 2021 at 15:04
  • How long have you known him? references the continuous process of knowing someone. How long ago did you meet him? references the point in past time (in terms of an offset from "now") at which the completed action of meeting someone took place. Aug 24, 2021 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Your first meeting with someone is a one-off occasion; you can't use it with how long have you?. Your friend needs to say "How long have you known him?"

  • You could also ask "[For] how long did you meet with him?", if you wanted to know whether that particular occasion lasted a long time or not. I agree that the intention is to find out how long ago that meeting was. Aug 24, 2021 at 12:51
  • @AndrzejDoyle "meet with" and "meet" do not mean the same thing. Aug 24, 2021 at 13:09

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