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I encountered the following:

“As a matter of practice, larger issuers have since long voluntarily offered more forward-looking information than was strictly required”

I'm unfamiliar with the expression “since long”.

Could you kindly me let me know what “since long" means?

I guess it would mean something like “since a long time ago”.

If it is, is it grammatically correct to say “since long” in that way?

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  • It is idiomatic to drop the 'since': 'As a matter of practice, larger issuers have long voluntarily offered more forward-looking information than was strictly required'. But it's rather poetic. Commented Mar 24 at 14:35

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Disclaimer

I originally suggested this question be migrated to SE English Language Learners, as I believe it obvious to native speakers that this phrase is not idiomatic English. I commented merely on why I thought non-native speakers made the mistake of using it. It was not migrated and it is too late to migrate it now, but someone has commented that I should make it into an answer as the question had attracted 6K views, and the only answer misread the question.

Assertion

“Since long” or “Since a long time” in sentences such as “We have lived here since long.” are not English.

‘Since’ is only used in temporal expressions in relation to a fixed time point:
e.g. “We have lived here since 2005.”
Note that the same sentence could be used today (2022) or at any earlier times such as 2010.

When the period of time is the matter in question, ‘for’ is used.
e.g. “We have lived here for 17 years.” (said in 2022).
but “We have lived here for 5 years.” (said in 2010).

In relation to the example of “long” or, more usually, “a long time”, although not a precisely specified duration of time, ‘for’ is still used:
e.g. “We have lived here for a long time.”

Evidence

I don’t know whether this is classified as grammar, but, if not, it is one of usage and idiom. As a native speaker I often find it difficult in such cases to provide the evidence that this site requires. In this case I found an appropriate entry in the online grammar section of the Cambridge Dictionary:

We use for with a period of time in the past, present or future.
We use since with a point in time in the past.

This is followed by an example and a specific warning against using since with periods of time.

Why is this mistake so common in non-native speakers?

I suspect that the author of the quoted extract is a fluent but non-native speaker. This is because when I worked for a year in an international science institution I found this to be one of the three or four most common mistakes that fluent Continental European scientists made. (And they read, write and deliver seminars in English all their working week.) I believe this is because in French, German and Dutch (at least) this sort of temporal structure is grammatical.

French: Depuis (often translated into English by dictionaries as since)
« Je suis ici depuis longtemps. » (I have been here for a long time.)
« Je suis ici depuis huit ans. » (I have been here for eight years.)
but also « Je suis ici depuis Janvier. » (I have been here since January.)

German: Seit (generally translated into English by dictionaries as since)
„Ich bin seit langem hier.“ (I have been here for a long time.)
„Ich bin seit acht Jahren hier.“ (I have been here for eight years.)
but also, „Ich bin seit Januar hier.“ (I have been here since January.)

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  • Please correct the German grammatical mistakes: "Ich bin seit acht Jahren hier" and "Ich bin seit langem hier." (I cannot make edits shorter than 6 characters).
    – kdarras
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 21:38
  • @kdarras — Thanks and apologies. Fixed now, I hope.
    – David
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 13:02
  • The same is true in Italian: Sono qui da molto tempo (= for a long time) and Sono [stato] qui da otto anni/gennaio.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 13:08
  • But Wiktionary lists 'since long'. But I'd certainly select 'They have long had to negotiate the treacherous rocks surrounding the island.' Commented Mar 24 at 14:33
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It is a weaker version of "Ever since, as a matter of practice, larger issuers have voluntarily offered more forward-looking information than was strictly required". This one implies that the practice was uniform and began immediately with the institution of some new requirements. As written, the reference is still to the period starting with the new requirements, but says only that it has been conventional for large issuers to provide additional forward-looking data. Paraphrased, it means "As a matter of practice, larger issuers have, since the new requirements came into effect, come to voluntarily offer more forward-looking information than was strictly required. And they have been for doing so for a long time."

Given an event, explicit or assumed, the use of since in this manner is fine.

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In present day context, I firmly believe that 'long since' and 'Since long' both are logically ok but must be used in different relations; eg: Long since means- long time has passed since a point of action started. Eg ; A long time has passed since you started to write this letter

Since long means- since some point of action finished a long time has passed till now. Eg : since the point of time you wrote the letter, A long time has passed

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  • Google 2-grams would seem to confirm my suspicion that 'long since' is by far the more common phrase. Commented Mar 24 at 14:28
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I refer you to the following passage. As a native British English speaker, using 'since long' in this fashion is perfectly normal. You find it quite often in official documentation and legal speak.

The meaning is as explained below, very much like you said, 'since a long time ago'.

Hope this helps.


long since adverb

Definition of long since 1: long ago promises long since forgotten 2: for a long time has long since been a devoted friend

Examples of long since in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The site was likely constructed on the bank of semi-stable river that has long since been reclaimed by the ocean.

— Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "An 8,000-Year-Old Platform in Britain Could Be the Oldest Boat-Building Site Ever Discovered," 27 Aug. 2019

As Warzel points out, Twitter amplified those conspiracies via its trending algorithm, which has long since outlived its usefulness.

— Casey Newton, The Verge, "It’s time to end “trending” on Twitter," 13 Aug. 2019

First Known Use of long since 14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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    While we are at it... I feel there is a difference between "since long" and "long since". Is it true? Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 6:34
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    @linuxfansaysReinstateMonica An interesting point, im unable to find any official documentation on the differences, but in general English the two are somewhat interchangeable. You could say, "That car has long since passed its best." As easily as you could say "That car has since long passed its best." Though i feel like the latter would read better with some structure changes. "That car has since long been useful." Though although i have no proof, it feels like "Long Since" has replaced "Since Long" from Old English to new English.
    – RustyUK
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 7:01
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    I disagree. Long since is standard English, but since long is definitely not (though we san say since long before [a particular time or event]. The sentence quoted by the OP contains either a typo or an error. Oh, and @linuxfansaysReinstateMonica, it's I've stopped drinking beer, not to drink. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 9:17
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    You realize that all examples you gave don't match the question? Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 19:44
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    We have been taught 'since' to be used for a point of time, and 'for' for a period of time. Hence, since 1947, since last year, since the day/time something happened, etc. are fine. Else it should be 'for', like for two days, for a long period, for years, etc. 'Long since' may be in a different way, like "something happening for long since its start from 1947, since it was inaugurated by so and so....' I am unable to relate it to any other situation.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 0:41

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