Using "have wanted" and "ago"... is it bad?

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

Moderator: Susan

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 1:53 am
Status: Teacher

Using "have wanted" and "ago"... is it bad?

Unread post by ETPhoneHome » Mon May 24, 2010 2:06 am

Hello everyone. My first post. :) I'm an American, working as an assistant teacher in Japan.

Does anyone know if this sentence is grammatically correct?

"I have wanted to go to Tokyo since 10 years ago."

Some of my JTEs (Japanese Teachers of English) said that using "have wanted" and + "ago" is grammatically incorrect because using "ago" has to be used in sentences utilizing the past tense.

I'm guessing that in order for the sentence to be correct, it would have to be rewritten like this:

"I had to go to Tokyo since 10 years ago."

Of course, from what I understand, "have wanted" and "had wanted" do have different implications. "Have wanted" implies that the person still wants to do/have/etc. the object in question, while "had wanted" means that at a time, the object was desired, but that desire has been changed or already satisfied.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :D Thank you kindly.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 11:52 pm
Status: New Teacher

Re: Using "have wanted" and "ago"... is it bad?

Unread post by Johnattan » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:02 am

Hey, how are you doing?

Well, as far as I know using ago with Present Perfect makes this sentence gramatically incorrect.

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:04 pm
Status: Other

Re: Using "have wanted" and "ago"... is it bad?

Unread post by babygirladdy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:18 pm

Honestly, using "I had wanted to go to Tokyo since 10 years ago" doesn't make much sense to me because of the word "since" - it seems to be saying that the speaker did at one point want this in the past, but doesn't now. Using the phrase "since 10 years ago" with this seems to be saying that they still wish to go to Tokyo.. I'm not sure how grammatically correct this may or may not be, but it doesn't sound natural or very good to me as a native speaker of English in America.

I think the best way to form this sentence would probably be:

"I have wanted to go to Tokyo for 10 years."

This would imply that you started wanting this goal 10 years ago and still retain the desire to currently.

I will also say that although the previous sentence of using "since 10 years ago" may not be correct, it is wholly possible for a person traveling overseas to *hear* this in regular use even if it isn't correct; and, that that might be a good thing to point out.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:17 pm
Status: Teacher

Re: Using "have wanted" and "ago"... is it bad?

Unread post by kamel » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:52 pm

"I have wanted to go to Tokyo since10 years ago"
*since is always used with a point in time here we can substitute it with for
*ago generally mentions a point of time totally fulfilled( I visited Tokyo10 years ago)
*the use of the present perfect here with since and for generally refers us to the beginning of an action in the past that is still continuing in the present so the action is not fulfilled yet
Personally I have never met such structure since I began practicing English; Therefore If I meet such structure I won't appreciate it

Post Reply