In these sentences:
1-In the last few years I have known her, she has been depressed.
2-In these last years I have known her, she has been depressed.
3-In the last years I have known her, she has been depressed.

a-Have I known her only in the last (few) years.
or:
b-Have I known her for a period stretching back beyond the last (few) years.
Last edited {1}
Original Post
I'd avoid 1 and 3 as they can make you believe for a second that she's dead, until you see the present perfect.

You may also say:

In these last years since I knew/met her first, she has been depressed.
Last edited by Marius Hancu
I can't agree, Jerry. If the first clause were in the simple past, I'd see your point, but since it's in the present perfect, I wouldn't think for a moment that she's dead.

In answer to your question, which Jerry forgot to do, b is the interpretation that works, Navi.
Richard said:

quote:
I can't agree, Jerry. If the first clause were in the simple past, I'd see your point, but since it's in the present perfect, I wouldn't think for a moment that she's dead.

In answer to your question, which Jerry forgot to do, b is the interpretation that works, Navi.


I thought it's understood I have no objections against b.

BTW, Richard, why do you reject a and c?
I don't accept the a interpretation because, even though some might consider the first clause ambiguous, I think the first impression a reader/listener gets is that the speaker is talking about a block of time of a few years within a longer period of time that he has known her.

As for c, what c, Jerry? I don't see any c.

By the way, in that interpretation of yours in bold, I disagree with using know. This is ungrammatical in English. It'll work in some other languages I know, but not English.
quote:
By the way, in that interpretation of yours in bold, I disagree with using "know." This is ungrammatical in English. It'll work in some other languages I know, but not English.


Well, it's been used by Oscar Wilde and Churchill, and some recent writers too:

-----
An Ideal Husband‎ - Page 37
by Oscar Wilde - Humor - 2001 - 96 pages

The post should suit him admirably, unless he has deteriorated since I knew him first.

http://books.google.com/books?...m%20first%22&f=false
------
The crisis‎ - Page 478
by Winston Churchill - Fiction - 1922 - 543 pages

I can find little if any change in his manner since I knew him first. He is brusque, but kindly, and he has the same comradeship with officers and men — and

http://books.google.com/books?...+I+knew+him+first%22
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Twenty best plays of the modern American theatre‎ - Page 749
by John Gassner - Drama - 1939 - 874 pages

He's been that way ever since I knew him.
FIRST GENERAL. We're all anxious to get this thing over with just as quickly and quietly as possible.
http://books.google.com/books?...new+him+first%22&lr=
------
Men like shadows‎ - Page 124
by Dorothy Charques - Fiction - 1953 - 343 pages

... between this world and the next ; eternity drew him like a star ; he was not now, I said — nor had he ever been since I knew him first — like other men.
------
Last edited by Marius Hancu
quote:
1-In the last few years I have known her, she has been depressed.
2-In these last years I have known her, she has been depressed.
3-In the last years I have known her, she has been depressed.

All these are OK.

They all mean that in recent years, she has been depressed. But, you have known her for longer than the/ these last years.

As Richard says, only B).

In contrast, if you have known her only for the last few years, the sentence would be something like this:

  • She has been depressed ever since I've known her, which is for about three years.
  • Last edited by Rachel, Moderator

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