Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

An online instructor was asked by a student at the end of their conversation:

Which of the following is correct and why?

  1. It was nice talking to you.
  2. It has been nice talking to you.

Is talking a gerund here?

share|improve this question
    
Are you asking two questions here, or is the question about if talking is a gerund your only question? –  Matt Эллен Jun 12 '12 at 8:18

3 Answers 3

At the end of an online conversation, both It was nice talking to you (past simple) and It has been nice talking to you (present perfect) are correct. However, if the statement is made some time after the conversation ended, then it would be more usual to use the past simple.

Talking functions as a gerund in your examples. You could equally say:

  • Talking to you has been nice.
share|improve this answer
    
Thanks. This was very helpful. –  Essen May 29 '12 at 7:26

To build on Shoe's answer, It was nice talking to you has another connotation ("It was nice talking to you until x happened...") which could be problematic in an online setting, since it's difficult to detect emotional meaning in text. (As an aside, I suspect this is why comedians are funnier talking to a live audience than writing something in a book.) If the student meant to imply that things went sour somewhere along the way, it would be wise to add an ellipsis or to use some form of markup language.

share|improve this answer

To further elaborate:

"It was nice talking to you" is inappropriate to say to someone at the end of a conversation because it refers to a previous conversation. Although, it does not mean a distant point. In fact, the scene might be like this: You had a pleasant conversation over lunch, paid the check and got up and prepared to depart without continuing the conversation, in which case it would be perfect to say "it was nice talking to you."

"It has been nice talking to you" indicates two things: 1) the conversation is over, and 2) it just concluded.

"It is nice talking to you" is the sort of thing you would say to someone with whom are currently engaged in a pleasant conversation. The conversation is not over with yet, and it has been enjoyable so far.

"It had been nice talking to you" implies that at some specific point in the past, 1) you had been engaged in a pleasing conversation up to that point 2) at which the conversation was either stopped or became unpleasant.

Then you have such delightful sentences as "It will be nice talking to you" when you get together with someone in the future; "It shall have been nice talking to" by the time you finish that future conversation before we part again for some other activity. This is an awkward sentence, but it has its place. To wit:

John and Martha went to school together and always enjoyed late night into the morning conversations. It's been years since they have had the opportunity. Tomorrow they are to meet again, right before John is to leave for a job far off in the bush of Australia.

"John," says Marsha, "I am so looking forward to our meeting tomorrow." "Me, too," says John, slightly ungrammatically. "We just won't have enough time to say all we need." "I feel exactly the same," adds John. "Two hours just isn't enough." "You're right, Marsha, it isn't." "Two hours to say so much ... And then you will be gone." "True, but it will have been nice talking to you. It will make the following years easier to bear."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.