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I've been working on these sentence structures lately:

It has been... since...
It had been... since...

I've learned that we can use past simple and present perfect after since with "it has been" + "since".

For example:

It's been years since I rode a bike.
It's been years since I've ridden a bike.

As for "it had been" + "since", it seems I should use the past perfect after since. For example:

It'd been years since I'd ridden a bike.

My question is: Can I use past simple and present perfect with "it had been" + "since"? For example:

It'd been a whole two hours since he texted me.
It'd been way too long since he has had sex.

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A simple way to see it is as follow: Use: has+been for actions continue in the present. And Had + been for action started and finished in the past.

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It depends on what the "d" is standing for. Is it "had" or "would"?

If "it'd" stands for "it had", then that is fine as-is. Your example expands to: It had been a whole two hours since he texted me.

If "it'd" stands for "it would", "it'd been" is grammatically incorrect: it expands to "it would been". The proper way to say what you're trying to is "it'd have been..." which expands to "it would have been".

Note that shorting "it would" might be seen as eccentric. It happens a lot in the US, but mostly in regional dialects. Aside from being highly informal, there is nothing wrong with it. Usually when I've heard it actually spoken, it sounds more like "It'd'ev been".

Most readers will assume what the "d" was meant as based on if "have" is present, so beware that it changes the meaning in a rather unexpected way.

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    can't it be it had instead of it would when you use it'd ? – Random May 26 '15 at 13:23
  • @Random Hmm, you have a good point. I'm used to hearing it in the context I explained it, but the other way is valid as well. I'll edit and cover both. – user15474 May 26 '15 at 13:24
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    I'm talking about it had been. I would never say It would been; I know it is incorrect :). – Aldenise May 26 '15 at 13:28
  • @Aldenise I expanded my answer, and the example you gave is right using had. I'm just too use to Pittsburghese I guess. – user15474 May 26 '15 at 13:31
  • Thanks, William Kappler. I edited my question so as to leave no doubt :). – Aldenise May 26 '15 at 13:44
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"It has been... since..." is present tense.
"It had been... since..." is past tense.

For example: "It has been a long time since I visited this site"
Syntax: "It has been (time period) since (past tense of what you're referring to)"

Other example: "It had been a long time since he had visited this site"
Usually used in stories, it is uncommon to hear people use "It had been..." in colloquial speech. But when used, it's referring to the past.
Syntax: "It had been (time period) since (perfect past tense of what you're referring to)"

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SINCE has multiple uses. Here we are concerned with it as a time conjunction to refer back to a previous point of time in addition to making the clause dependent by usurping its front end.

When we talk of present perfect tense the action mentioned therin can be termed as 'grounded in the past with an eye on the present'

The following link has an exemplary discussion on the topic of the post, specifically where it delineates 'Since and Tenses': http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/since

We don't need to overburden the explanation with so many examples of which there are many. Suffice it to say

  • When referring to an event in the past, 'since' introduced subordinate clauses maybe in either simple past or present perfect when the main clauses are in present perfect.

  • There may be occasion where we require a dummy IT (introductory IT) to structure the main clause in the fashion "it+be+??time+ since." In such a scenario, the subordinate clause with 'since' may be in present perfect/simple past/past perfect and we have the option of using simple present/present perfect/past perfect in the main clause.

& * However, if the past action has a continuing effect on the present, both the clauses ( main / since-induced) are used in present perfect tense.

We think both of your examples are correct as discussed herein above.

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The correct versions of your examples would be

It'd been a whole two hours since he had texted

It'd been way too long since he had had sex

("It'd" is quite informal. If you're going to use it, might as well use "he'd" for "he had" in your examples.)

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These two uses have subtly different meanings.

"It has been years since I wrote my brother." Simple statement of fact that exists up to the present moment.

"It had been years since I wrote my brother (before he called me out of the blue)." The "had been" implies that something happened afterward and whatever condition was true before is now in some way resolved.

With that out of the way, the use of certain tenses with "has/had been" doesn't always make sense. "It's been years since I had ridden a bike" is mixed tense. The "it's been" implies an ongoing condition, but "had ridden" implies a past condition.

In the same way "It'd been a whole two hours since he texted me," is OK, but again we're talking about a past condition that at that moment should be resolved. "It had been a whole two hours since he had texted me (and then something else happened)." We tend to make this less formal by using the simple past tense, but it's not really proper English.

"It'd been way too long since he has had sex." You're mixing tenses again. "since he has had sex" implies an ongoing condition, but "It had been way to long" implies a past condition. You have to decide which is true:

"It has been way too long since he has had sex,"

or,

"It had been way too long since he had sex,"

or even,

"It had been way too long since he had had sex."

The first one implies ongoing condition. The second two imply a condition that since has been resolved. The third one is actually good English, but in common practice the double "had" is condensed into one.

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My choices of sentences closest to the meanings you seem to mean:

  1. It'd been a whole two hours since he texted me. It had been a whole two hours since he had texted me. OR It was a whole two hours since he texted me.

  2. It'd been way too long since he has had sex. It had been way too long since he had had sex. OR It has been way too long since he has had sex.

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