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This is a related question to German for 'in a while'. I would like to say "this is my first time climbing in a long time." My first instinct without a translator would be "das ist das erste Mal, dass ich geklettert bin, seit langem." DeepL says "ich klettere zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit" and Google Translate says "das ist das erste Mal seit langem, dass ich klettere."

I'm glad that these all roughly agree, but I can't reconcile this in my head with "schon lange nicht mehr" (as in "ich bin schon lange nicht mehr geklettert"). I guess the difference is that if I am actively doing the climbing I can use seit langem, while if I haven't done something in a while, I have to use schon lange nicht mehr?

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das ist das erste Mal, dass ich geklettert bin, seit langem.

This is more or less correct, but the word order is wrong. Your Google-translation has gotten it right: "...das erste mal seit langem...", but why they switched Perfekt (present perfect) "daß ich geklettert bin" to Präsens (present tense) "daß ich klettere" eludes me.

The difference is not that big, but "daß ich klettere" would imply you are still climbing while you say that whereas "daß ich geklettert bin" would put the activity already in the past.

The quoted sentence from DeepL

ich klettere zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit

also implies that you are still climbing while you say that (Präsens). If you have just finished climbing you would say (again, Perfekt):

ich bin zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit geklettert.

Both variants mean the same as their respective counterparts from Google.


Ich bin schon lange nicht mehr geklettert.

Means you haven't climbed for a long time and says nothing about if this long absence from climbing is going to end soon or if it has ended at all. English is - in this respect - different.

I haven't been climbing for a long time.

implies this absence has just ended now, whereas

I haven't climbed for a long time.

means you aren't about to start again right now. German doesn't have this distinction. To say "ich bin schon lange nicht mehr geklettert" would even be possible after coming back from the first climb since a long time (i.e. as an explanation for being rusty).

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While I'm not sure, whether this matches your question fully, here some considerations:

  • seit langem und schon lange are pretty synonymous.
  • nicht mehr is independent of those; it can be combined with both as well as many other phrases. It essentially changes the meaning, since it covers the case, that you pretty regularly did something earlier, but did not continue to do so for [here:] a long time.
  • If this earlier regularity should not be implied, you could use something like: Das ist das erste Mal seit [Zeitraum], dass ich wieder ...
  • Depending on the context other alternatives may be more common, so Ich rauche seit fünf Jahren nicht mehr may be phrased as Das Rauchen habe ich vor fünf Jahren aufgegeben.

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