"Ela não o vê há sete anos."
Translation:She has not seen him since seven years ago.
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This English translation makes several very basic mistakes. The correct sentence: She has not seen him for seven years.
Since is used to describe an action that begins at a point in time:
It has been raining since two o'clock in the afternoon.
To describe a block of time, the preposition for is used:
It has been raining for five hours.
Finally, an adverb of time like ago is used with verbs in the simple past, not the present perfect tense.
Thank you very much for your explanation! My impression was that I always saw "since... ago" as a translation of "há" in sentences like the one above. But that's because that mistake appears in several sentences of Duo. =/
It's surprising that these sentences haven't been corrected after all this time, especially since these are very basic grammar mistakes.
It is quite puzzling. I would never write "She has not seen him since seven years ago", and would use "She has not seen him for seven years" instead. I have to admit, though, I would write "She has not seen him since 2008", but as 2008 was seven years ago there should be nothing wrong with saying "She has not seen him since seven years ago". It sounds odd, but it's logically correct.
It sounds "odd" because it is grammatically incorrect.
"Ago" always refers to the past and isn't used in the present perfect tense.
At the instant I say the words "seven years ago" I have defined a specific time/date so this seems to pass your test.
I probably don't have many supporters, but a quick search found that the noted linguist David Crystal uses the same argument: http://david-crystal.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/on-sinceago.html
Every grammar book that I have - British and US - states that "ago" is as a designator of the simple past tense. The inclusion of "ago" with the present perfect tense won't get past the copy editors of the NY Times.
You are correct when you posted:
"I would never write "She has not seen him since seven years ago", and would use "She has not seen him for seven years" instead."
That feature of "ago" you mention is exactly the one that gives legitimacy to "since X ago".
Noting what you say in your other comment, I discovered that the NY Times uses this kind of construction quite frequently:
- No cattle have left Chicago for New York since a week ago last Friday.
- Two of the gang have been under arrest since a week ago last night.
- The economic environment has improved since a year ago.
- Stocks have rallied very handily since a year ago in October.
- Mr. Andersen's Oberon has improved since two years ago.
- His numbers have slowly declined since five years ago.
- The spirit of democracy has developed rapidly since fifty years ago.
I can't search The Times or The New Yorker because they are behind paywalls. Here's a few examples from the Telegraph (UK):
- The average number of renters has increased since a year ago.
- Property prices have nearly doubled since a year ago.
- The risk of UK blackouts has tripled since a year ago.
- Since three years ago next Saturday, George W Bush has looked the natural leader of America.
Using the "ago" reference twice in the same sentence seems quite popular; here are some examples:
- The camp has grown steadily since a week ago when it was just a scrap of fallow farmland.
- Langford has not fought in New York since a year ago, when he disposed of Al Kubiak in two rounds.
- The tables have turned since a year ago, when 46 per cent said they would vote to withdraw and 36 per cent to remain.
- The issue has not been discussed at Westminster since seven years ago, when a Private Members' Bill in support of the move was narrowly defeated.
I wouldn't necessarily look to journalists as arbiters of good usage. It sounds clunky, and that is as good a reason as any for preferring a different construction, e.g. 'in the last year', 'in the last three years', 'Langford has not fought in NY for a year', 'property prices have nearly doubled over the last year' and so on.
Indeed. "Since" is like "desde" in Portugese. "Desde" can also only be used in combination with a certain point in time. Although in English you can reverse the word order. Like the Sinehead 'o Connor song: "It's been seven hours and fifteen days, since you took your love away." That sounds ok, isn't it?
This is a shocking English translation that Duolingo has put on! It is wrong to write 'since seven years ago'! Please correct this asap! It should be either: She has not seen him since seven. OR She has not seen him for seven years. As a rule 'since' and 'ago' will never in a million years be found in the same clause or sentence. If you do, it is proof of a very poor English indeed. ...and oh Duolingo should give me one heart back!
The use of the present tense with "há" translates the present perfect - see my comment in this discussion: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/1041145 - that is "She has not seen him for seven years" which is not the same as your sentence.
Here are some examples of the difference between the "for" and "ago" meanings (I stole them from one of Danmoller's comments):
Ela não fala [present tense] há dez anos (She hasn't spoken for ten years)
Ela chegou [past tense] há dez anos (She arrived ten years ago)
Ruama suggests "Ela não o viu/via há sete anos" to get your meaning.
So many people trying to justify the duo given English translation. All I would say is come to the UK and hear how it is used by native speakers, not 2nd or 3rd language speakers as may be found writing for US newspapers. The duo version is plain wrong and should be fixed.