Expressing duration of inaction
Saying how long you have done something is pretty simple in Chinese. Saying how long you have not done something is just as easy.
Expressing how long something has not been done is slightly different to expressing the Expressing ongoing duration with double "le".
Subj. + 已经 + Duration + 没 + Verb + 了
So now the duration comes right after the subject and 了 is at the end of the sentence. The verb has to be negated with 没, as the action hasn't happened.
Note that 已经 can be omitted.
- 他们 已经 两 天 没 吃 东西 了 。They have gone two days without eating anything.
- 我们 已经 十 年 没 见 了。It's been ten years since we last met.
- 他 已经 一 个 星期 没 洗澡 了 。He has already gone a whole week without showering.
- 你 多长时间 没 刮胡子 了 ？How long has it been since you last shaved?
- 她 半 个 月 没 出门 了 。It's been half a month since she last left the house.
- 你们 多久 没 回家 了 ？How long has it been since you returned home?
- 你 多久 没 休假 了 ？How long has it been since your last vacation?
- 买 吧 ，你 已经 一 年 多 没 买 新 衣服 了 。Just buy it. It's been more than one year since you last bought new clothes.
- 你 好像 很久 没 这么 开心 了 。It seems like it's been a long time since you were this happy.
In English, we may say something like "I haven't eaten since 9:00 this morning" or "I haven't been to China since the year 2000." Note that the Chinese do not tend to say somebody hasn't done something since a certain point in time. Instead, you should either express it as a duration of time that one hasn't done something (as in the above examples), or you can say "the last time somebody did something was [a certain point in time]."
- 我 已经 二十 年 没 来 中国 了 。It's been 20 years since I came to China last time.
- 我 上次 来 中国 是 二十 年 前 。The last time I came to China was over ten years ago. (Same meaning as "I haven't been to China since 20 years ago.")