I was wondering whether 'long ago' is compatible with the present perfect tense. To my knowledge, 'ago' has to be used with the past tense. Why did the anchor choose to use 'long ago' in the present perfect tense? The below sentence comes in NBC Nightly News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkmFR1YGADA&t=266s

The short-term impacts have long ago hit home for consumers whether being outpriced by higher home mortgage rates or dealing with the higher costs of maintaining a credit card balance.

1 Answer 1


All else being equal, we use the simple past tense when the time is specified and the present perfect tense otherwise. However, opinions can vary about whether a time is being specified or not, so there are many situations in which either tense could work. In this case, the author apparently thought that the time wasn't being clearly specified, and that position seems reasonable. (For the record, I agree with you; I feel that "long ago" indicates a particular time and would therefore have preferred the simple past in this sentence.)

  • What if 'since long ago' is used instead of 'long ago'? Nov 11, 2022 at 22:00
  • @JiHyunLee "Since long ago" doesn't seem to have the right meaning here. However, you could say "The short-term impacts have long since hit home for consumers . . ." Nov 11, 2022 at 22:47
  • Thank you for the reply. Frankly, I cannot tell among "long ago", "long since", "since long ago", "already", even though looking up dictionaries. Could you possibly add some to explain it? Nov 14, 2022 at 2:01
  • @JiHyunLee I recommend that you research those adverbial phrases to see the differences in how they're used. (Dictionaries often aren't great for seeing how terms are actually used; other sources, such as Google Books, are probably more useful.) If you still have questions, then I recommend asking a new question citing your research and explaining why it didn't help you to distinguish between when to use the simple past and present perfect tenses with those phrases. Nov 14, 2022 at 19:15

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