Jump to: navigation, search

Expressing duration of inaction

(Redirected from ASGSVF28)

Saying how long you have not done something is not difficult, but the word order is different from the regular pattern for expressing duration. If there's a consistent keyword in this pattern, it's going to be (méi), since it almost always plays a role.


Remember, this pattern differs from both simple pattern for expressing duration and the pattern for ongoing duration.

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 吃 东西 Tāmen yǐjīng liǎng tiān méi chī dōngxi le.They haven't eating anything for two days already.
  • 我们 已经 十 年 Wǒmen yǐjīng shí nián méi jiàn le.We haven't seen each other for ten years already.
  • 已经 一 个 星期 洗澡 yǐjīng yī gè xīngqī méi xǐzǎo le.He has already gone a whole week without showering.
  • 你 多 长 时间 刮 胡子 Nǐ duō cháng shíjiān méi guā húzi le?How long has it been since you last shaved?
  • 她 半 个 月 出门 Tā bàn gè yuè méi chūmén le.It's been half a month since she's left the house.
  • 你们 多久 回家 Nǐmen duōjiǔ méi huíjiā le?How long has it been since you returned home?
  • 你 多久 休假 Nǐ duōjiǔ méi xiūjià le?How long has it been since your last vacation?
  • 买 吧 ,你 已经 一 年 多 买 新 衣服 Mǎi ba, nǐ yǐjīng yī nián duō méi mǎi xīn yīfu le.Just buy it. It's been more than one year since you last bought new clothes.
  • 你 好像 很久 这么 开心 Nǐ hǎoxiàng hěnjiǔ méi zhème kāixīn le.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 十 年 来 中国 Wǒ yǐjīng shí nián méi lái Zhōngguó le.It's been 10 years since I came to China last.
  • 上次 来 中国 2010 年 。shàngcì lái Zhōngguó shì èr-líng-yī-líng nián.The last time I came to China was 2010.

See also

Sources and further reading