Ne...pas + le présent + depuis longtemps

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Kwiziq community member

10 July 2017

3 replies

Ne...pas + le présent + depuis longtemps

Nous ne sommes pas arrivés depuis longtemps. We have not been here for long. My question is, that since the English translation appears to imply that the action continues into the present, why is the above French sentence in le passé composé and not le présent. Like the examples: Je ne vis pas en France depuis longtemps. I have not lived in France for long. Nous n'habitons pas ici depuis très longtemps. We haven't lived here very long. This is my third attempt to get an answer. The previous answers told me to read the lesson. I have read it many times. What am I missing?

This question relates to:
French lesson "Using Le Passé Composé or Le Présent in negative sentences with ''depuis''"


Kwiziq language super star

14 July 2017


Bonjour Brian !

The case of "arriver" is tricky because you use "to be" in English:
Literally, the French sentence means "We haven't arrived for long", referring to the action of arriving, not being there.
Therefore, this is not an action that is still ongoing: you have stopped arriving in the past, you don't "keep" arriving.
That's why you will use Le Passé Composé here.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !


Kwiziq community member

28 May 2018


Hi Aurélie,

Could we also write "Nous ne sommes pas là depuis longtemps" as an alternative translation for "We haven't been here for long"? That way we omit the verb arriver altogether. 


Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2018


Bonjour Steven !

This is a correct alternative, though note that the "arriver" option is very colloquial and therefore worth remembering :)

Bonne journée !

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