Since + [time period]

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Tue Apr 18 11:05:58 UTC 2000

on 16/4/00 4:48 PM, Tom Kysilko wrote:

> On an NPR news program last week, regarding some new initiate Tony Blair
> may be taking to try to restart the peace process in Northern Ireland, I
> thought I heard a BBC correspondent say something like, "The two
> governments have been working on a joint proposal since three weeks."
> [...]
> Indeed, is this locution even common in contemporary British English?  [It
> makes me think of those Jane Austen emulators, who lard their prose with
> "these three weeks".  Yes, they occur in the Austen corpus, but not very
> often.]

The construction "since three weeks" strikes me as very odd.  "Since three
weeks ago" might be more acceptable.  Since the BBC has allowed non-RP
standard varieties be used by its newsreaders and reporters, it is possible
that a regionalism slipped through in the correspondent, if s/he were from
Ireland... although I don't know if this construction is acceptable in
Hibernian English, either.


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh      Departments of English Language and
aaron at                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics


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