Hello, teachers!
I think I was taught that the expression 'since [time] ago' is incorrect and it should be 'for [time]'. However, I often hear that 'since [time] ago' is also correct and common, and on the Internet through Google, I have found so many sentences with the expression. Is it really correct?

- Please check my thoughts.
I haven't heard of anything about him [_____].
a. since many years ago. [I think this is common, but it is very informal or incorrect.]
b. for/in years. [I think this is more common and correct.]

Thank you very much.
Enjoy the quiet after a buzzing morning.
Best Regards.
Original Post
This very topic appeared in a question from Apple, with a response from Marilyn Martin on March 5 of this year.

The question and the response currently appear on page 3 of this Newsgroup.

Here is the response from Marilyn:

The expression "since (X) years ago" occurs quite frequently with the present perfect in English. Here are some examples from Google:

Since 12,500 years ago, Glacier Peak has produced only a few ash eruptions, all of small volume.

In small companies (those with 100 or fewer employees), almost half say loyalty has increased since two years ago, with most of the others saying there was no change.

The tone of the press concerning woman's rights meetings had changed greatly since thirty years ago.

Often the expression is followed by a when- relative clause:

Attacks on centralized energy systems have probably become more frequent since 20 years ago, when they were already occurring every few days around the world.

Little in Social Security has changed since three years ago, when Washington was running the biggest budget surpluses in modern history

Marilyn Martin
[ This message has been edited by Grammar
This query is a little different from the previous one from Apple.

As my previous posting says, it's quite common to say "since (X time) ago." Notice, however, that all the examples from Google have a specific past time point expressed, e.g. "since 12,500/two/thirty years ago." On the other hand, if the expression is an imprecise time period, e.g.,"many years ago," it's not so common to use "since"; it's more common to use "in" or "for":

I haven't heard anything about him in (many) years/for (many) years

If you want to use "since many years ago," or similar expressions, such as "since a long time ago," you should characterize the last time you heard from him with a when-clause, for example

I haven't heard anything about him since many years ago, when I read that he had gotten married

i haven't heard from my old roommate Kathy since a long time ago, when both of us were still looking for jobs

Marilyn Martin
No doubt Marilyn is correct about the lack of frequency for "since [indefinite measure of time] ago." Nevertheless, I'd like to call the readers' attention to the fact that "since many years ago" appears on several school and university websites, and others, as in the examples here:

"ยข We have identified the following as the five greatest problems: 1.The inadequate legal and administrative structure in order to guarantee the fulfillment of the fundamental policy on the Galapagos that Ecuador has formulated since many years ago and that the President of the Republic has recently made a comment on while addressing the National Congress, which states that the ". . . Galapagos is a region destined to conservation, and therefore, any activity must fall, and be conditioned within this principle . . . "


"ยข Discrimination has existed since many years ago, for example, in 1845 when Texas annexed to the United States and became a state, Mexican Americans were discouraged to fulfill their right to vote by poll taxes, literacy tests, and old-fashioned intimidations. Hispanic Americans lost
http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/springbrookhs/rights/HIS/hispanichistory.ht ml

"ยข The ten leading pharmaceutical products in 2002 were all branded products, eight of which were products of multinational companies; eight have been off-patent since many years ago and six have generic equivalents in the market;

"ยข Since many years ago, the role of higher education in Uruguay has been emphasized as strategic for the future of our country.

A Google search shows what I meant by saying "it's not so common to use "since"; it's more common to use "in" or "for" [with an imprecise time period] (the * indicates "any word"):

1) Haven't * SINCE many years AGO = 0

Haven't * FOR many years = 22,000

Haven't * IN many years = 1,580

2) Hasn't * SINCE many years ago = 0

Hasn't * FOR many years = 663

Hasn't * IN many years = 598

Hogel's example sentences have a negative verb, but here are some figures for the affirmative version ("in" doesn't apply):

3) Have * SINCE many years AGO = 8

Have * FOR many years = 79,600

Marilyn Martin

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