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  1. It's been ten years since I have known her.
  2. It's been ten years since I knew her.

My understanding is that 1 is the same as

  • I have known her for ten years.
  • It's been ten years since I got to know her.
  • It's been ten years since I first met her.

and 2 is the same as

  • It's been ten years since I last met her.
  • I haven't been in touch with her for the past ten years.

Is my understanding correct?

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  • Your three alternatives for (1) are all much more idiomatic. Feb 16, 2023 at 10:35

1 Answer 1

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I think "since I knew her" sounds off in this sense (at least in my particular Anglo-Irish dialect).

Unless 'since' is being used as a synonym for 'because' (or 'knew' is being used "in the biblical sense", which is popularly taken to mean "had sex with her"). :-|

The reason is that 'know' is neither an action verb nor something that happens at a discrete moment of time. It is a disposition. And it's one that the speaker clearly still has (since they're speaking about her).

There is of course the comic/tragic song (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_I_Hardly_Knew_Ye) but that sense is from an old Anglo-Irish dialect and means more or less "recognise."

For the meaning you describe, I'd say most native speakers of standard or near-standard English would put something like "last met/saw/spoke to" where you put "knew".

The other (possibly more important) problem with "since I knew her" in your sense is that it's far too easy to misunderstand the speaker; thinking they mean "since I've known her."

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