In the text:

"Clinical trials found the vaccine to work well, but the company has long struggled with manufacturing. Here’s the latest on the pandemic." (From New York Times)

Can I rewrite it as:

"Clinical trials found the vaccine to work well, but the company has STRUGGLED LONG with manufacturing. Here’s the latest on the pandemic.

and keep the same semantics?

  • 1
    "Has struggled long" sounds old-fashioned and poetical; not really suitable for a medical text. Jun 7, 2022 at 12:38
  • Only one 'p' in 'flip'. Jun 7, 2022 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


The past participles known and argued are far more common than struggled after long, so let's check the usage figures for those...

enter image description here

Note that this use of "fronted" adverbial long before the past participle in a Perfect verb form [subject] has long [verbed] is a formal / literary / dated construction that rarely occurs in relaxed conversational contexts today. We usually rephrase to [subject] has [verbed] for a long time or similar.

Note that many other "adverbial qualifiers" work exactly the same way in this construction - often, seldom, rarely, never, for example, nearly always come before the verb, as with long. But some adverbial elements can go in either position without affecting the meaning. For example...

enter image description here

...where I multiplied the worked occasionally / occasionally worked figures by 10 to make them fit the above chart, since we're only interested in the relative ratios of the two sequences here, not their absolute prevalence.

TL;DR: The cited use of long is a "frozen form" that's no longer "productive", so you can't expect variations of it to be idiomatic.

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