Can you please tell me if I need to use the present perfect or the past past perfect in the sentence below?

I haven't eaten any sweets in a long time before now.

I hadn't eaten any sweets in a long time before now.

Generally I'm aware of when to use the tenses, but this context is giving me a hard tieme. Are both sentences perfectly natural? If so, is there any difference in meaning?

1 Answer 1


Before now is superfluous in both sentences. I haven't done X in/for a long time implies 'until now'.

The past perfect doesn't make sense unless you are talking about the past.

I went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet last week. I hadn't been to the theatre for a long time. ('before that' is implied).

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