Posts Tagged ‘ago and before’

Ago, For and Before

August 23rd, 2010 in Improve English

Ago is usually preceded by an expression of time.

The train went out ten minutes ago. (= It is ten minutes since the train went out.)
He died two years ago.
She phoned a few minutes ago.
It happened a long time ago.

Tenses with ago

Ago usually refers to a finished time and hence it is used with a past
tense, not a present perfect tense.

I met her two weeks ago. (NOT I have met her two weeks ago.)

However, a present perfect tense can be used with since…ago.

I haven’t met her since a week ago.

The difference between ago and for

Ago is used to say how long before the present something happened. When used with a past tense for says how long it lasted.


He died three years ago. (= He died three years before now.)
He was ill for several months before he died. (= His illness lasted several

Ago and before

Ago is used to count back from the present. It is used with a past tense and
a time expression. Before is used in the same way to count back from a past moment. It is used with a past perfect tense.

I met that woman at a library three weeks ago. (Not I met that woman at a library three weeks before.)
when we got talking I found out that we had worked in the same office ten years before.

Before can also be used with a present or past perfect tense to mean ‘already’ or ‘before now/then’.

I have seen that film before.