Is it correct to use the past simple with 'Since'?

For example:

I didn't see him since 1990.

I wouldn't say that as a native speaker but would always use the present perfect:

I haven't seen him since 1990.

  • 6
    If you wouldn't say it, what is the point of asking?
    – Irene
    Jan 13, 2012 at 16:15
  • 6
    @Irene Well, if I wouldn't say it as a native speaker of English from England then that doesn't mean that people in other English speaking countries wouldn't say it or that it is not grammatically correct. My personal use of English isn't an absolute reflection of 'correct English' so much so that anything I wouldn't say is automaticlly incorrect grammatically. If you can provide a reference or answer relating to the question then that would be good. Jan 13, 2012 at 17:11
  • 1
    @Irene Wikipedia has an interesting article on grammatical differences between British and American English - including grammatical differences that are specific to either one:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Jan 13, 2012 at 17:18
  • 1
    @Irene. lol. However, it seems the operative word here is I, not wouldn't. I would ask this same question, if I happened to see some respectable person using it so: "is that correct?"
    – Kris
    Jan 14, 2012 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


Past tense denotes the completed state as of now. So it is not possible to use "since" as it implies uncompleted period (as of now).

  • 2
    And you could alter the sentence to read, "I didn't see him after 1990".
    – MetaEd
    Jan 13, 2012 at 18:26
  • @MetaEd that didn't occur to me, thanks.
    – Kris
    Jan 14, 2012 at 7:50
  • @MetaEd, I can say both "yes" and "no" to your suggestion "I didn't see him after 1990". The answer mostly depends on contextual situation.
    – Mustafa
    Jan 14, 2012 at 8:45

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