As a non English speaker, I'm writing a profile in which I want to say something along the lines of: I've long since developed an interest for.... In context I feel it flows better than the (more obvious?) Since a long time, I've developed an interest for...

I believe the former is an okay construction, but perhaps a but archaic and/or contrived?

What do you think?

  • 2
    Being archaic apart, the phrase does not suit the sentence. Please see the meaning and usage in a good dictionary and let us know what you found.
    – Kris
    Mar 11, 2015 at 12:12
  • 3
    A quick look at Google Ngrams shows that the usage is slowly declining but can hardly be called archaic. Mar 11, 2015 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


The formulation

Since a long time

is not correct. We might say

I have had an interest in XXX for a long time

Since needs to reference a particular time or date and feels a little better as a qualifier rather than as an initial context. I prefer

I have been interested in XXX since 1974

to this

Since 1974 I have been interested in XXX

which feels clumsy.

I would happily use long since but then I am pretty archaic myself. In many examples I find it is hyphenated as long-since.


The expression "long since" is not archaic, but be careful how you use it. It is an adverbial phrase and as such will normally modify a verb.

Note that your second expression,

Since a long time, I've developed an interest for . . .

is not something most native speakers would say. That is an artifact of some other languages, notably German.

  • 2
    In "We were once close but we've since grown apart" we can use long since to emphasize how far in the past the transition from close to apart took place, but using plain long there doesn't sit well with me. On the other hand, it seems to work fine with "We were once close but we've long been enemies" (where plain since doesn't seem quite right to me). Perhaps because grow apart is a "continuous, ongoing" activity, where be enemies is a "static state". But is there some reason why long since seems okay to me in both contexts? Mar 11, 2015 at 14:29
  • @FumbleFingers I've recently become interested in the use of "long since" for reasons apart from this site. Merriam Webster says it means "for a long time", (the person I knew in the history department has long since been retired, was how I used it) which is the way I use it. But interestingly neither the OED nor the Shorter OED touch it at all.
    – WS2
    Jan 12, 2020 at 12:20
  • @WS2: I don't think for a long time is [often?, ever?] a direct replacement for long since. Better would be a long time ago. The point being both since and ago both imply two distinct "temporal reference points" (the later of which is usually now, time of utterance, but it could be [past] narrative reference time). The other "temporal reference point" has to be earlier (including long makes it much earlier), but it's more about temporal distance [between two reference points] than duration [of activity]. Jan 12, 2020 at 13:58
  • 1
    Ooops - belay that! The "past time" is when they retired (which is long ago with reference to time of utterance). But they could have retired immediately after you knew them, or much much later. Jan 12, 2020 at 18:40
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I am sure your second comment is right. Because had I never said anything about knowing them I could still have said "that person has long since retired". But I could not have said "they have since retired" as there would be no past referent point in time. So what we seem to have established is that "long since" is not simply a more intense form of "since" - but sets its own rules.
    – WS2
    Jan 12, 2020 at 19:24

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