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Can an American English speaker confirm whether the Simple Past tense is possible in the following sentences?

  • I didn't have so much fun for a long time.

  • You don't need to call him. He lost his phone.

I believe only the Present Perfect tense is possible here in British English:

  • I haven't had so much fun for a long time.
  • You don't need to call him. He has lost his phone.

Thank you.

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    It might be helpful to show the British versions for contrast. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 22 at 10:17
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    I certainly would not use the simple past in the first sentence, in American English. In the second sentence, I would need more context to respond. – Isabel Archer Jun 22 at 10:29
  • The British version would be: I haven't had so much fun for a long time. / You don't need to call him. He has lost his phone. – Ana Jun 22 at 10:43
  • We were taught British English at school (by non-native speakers), so I'd always thought that the Present Perfect should be used here. But lately I've noticed it's possible to use either the Simple Past and the Present Perfect in American English in some situations, but I can't figure out when. I wonder why it's possible to say "I didn’t see her for over 20 years and then I bumped into her last week." (from the Cambridge dictionary) but not "I didn't have so much fun for a long time." (though I have to say the use of the Simple Past tense here sounds weird to me too.) – Ana Jun 22 at 10:49
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    @Ana - Thanks Ana, I was suggesting that you show the British examples by editing the question itself. It won't materially change what you are asking and it's easier to compare when the two are side-by-side. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 22 at 10:57
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I didn't have so much fun for a long time.

As a native American-English speaker, I would never say this, and if I heard anyone make this statement, I would immediately assume that person was not a native speaker. Instead, I would say something like, "I haven't had that much fun in [or for] a long time."

You don't need to call him. He lost his phone.

This one sounds fine to me. "He lost his phone" indicates a persistent, present situation, even without using the Present Perfect tense.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer! Is it wrong to use "so" much there? – Ana Jun 22 at 15:29
  • I can't say it would be wrong to use "so" @Ana; it does sound a little more formal to my ears, though. – RobJarvis Jun 22 at 16:03
  • Thanks very much, Rob! – Ana Jun 22 at 16:12

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