‘After Long Time' or 'After a Long Time': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on March 13, 2023

Are you wondering whether to say ‘after long time’ or ‘after a long time’? And what is the difference? We’ll help clear that up in this article, plus you’ll learn how to use the phrase in a sentence correctly. We can also teach you how to pronounce it.

In short, the correct way to say this is:

  • ‘After a long time’ is the correct way to say this phrase. You might hear people also say, ‘after long.’
  • ‘After long time’ is incorrect and ungrammatical to use.

Stick to the spelling with the ‘a’ in there, and you’ll be on the right track.

‘After Long Time’ or ‘After a Long Time’?

Have you seen or heard people say ‘after a long time’ or ‘after long time’ and wondered which is correct?

The former is the correct way to say and write the phrase.

It’s used to express the passing of a lot of time.

For example, you might hear someone say:

‘After a long time working at that place, all they gave him for retirement was a watch and a plaque.’

‘After a Long Time’ – English Examples in Context

‘After a long time’ is an expression used to refer to the passage of a lot of time.

People use it to let someone know how long something took.

For example, they might say:

‘After a long time of waiting, I was finally able to see the judge.’

But it could also refer to a time that hasn’t happened yet.

For example, someone might say:

‘I’ll only get to see my mom after a long waiting period.’

Definition of ‘After a Long Time’: What Does ‘After a Long Time’ Mean?

The phrase ‘after a long time’ could sometimes mean:

  • Yet, in the future, after a while or after a period of time.
  • It could mean after a long wait, and it could mean days, weeks, months, or years.

There’s no specific amount of time referred to when it comes to this phrase.

It usually depends on each individual person’s situation.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘After a Long Time’

Are you unsure of how to pronounce this phrase? Here’s a short guide.

To pronounce this phrase correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling:


How to Use ‘After a Long Time’ in a Sentence

Now that we’ve got the definition and pronunciation out of the way, let’s see some sentence examples, so you know how to form some of your own.

  • After a long time of shoveling snow, our hands were all completely numb. I had to learn the hard way that I never wanted to shovel another sidewalk again.
  • After a long time of living with my mom and not really seeing my dad that much, I always thought the grass is always greener on the other side. But boy, was I wrong.
  • After a long time of flirting, Theo sent me a card with XOXO written all over it. I’m convinced he’s going to ask me out on a date.
  • I realized after a long time of researching this subject that there’s a lot that people don’t know. We need to bring public awareness to this, so people know about the dangers of being on their cell phones too much.
  • After a long time of wearing my sister’s hand-me-down clothes, I’m finally going to get new clothes this school year. It’s about time I get to update my wardrobe.
  • After a long time of seeing Ava gets abused by her family, I didn’t think I could ever feel for someone so badly. I wished I could help, but I didn’t know how.
  • We don’t even realize the habits we pick up until after a long time doing them. I didn’t even notice that I bounced my knee when I sat for too long.
  • After a long time of copywriting for many clients, I know that the main goal of the copy is to let the reader know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ I’ve been very successful using this method.

Final Thoughts on ‘After Long Time’ and ‘After a Long Time’

To recap, we learned that the correct way to say this is:

  • ‘After a long time’ is the only correct way to say this phrase. You might've heard someone say ‘after long,’ but 'after a long' is a lot more common.
  • ‘After long time’ is incorrect and ungrammatical to use. Avoid it in your writing and speech.

It's best to use to the spelling with the ‘a’, and you’ll be on the right track.

If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back here to review what you learned. We’ve got a whole library of content on confusing words and phrases you might see while learning the language. Feel free to check it out anytime.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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