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Am I wrong again...?

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Am I wrong again...?

Postby brogine » Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:20 am

"We had not forgotten that two years ago we were ignored." Shouldn't this read "two years earlier"? I see this construction a lot. It seems to me that from the point of view of the past, the word 'ago' is inappropriate. Opinions?
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Postby Perry » Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:02 am

By all I read here, and by what my gut reaction tells me, ago seems completely appropriate in this case.
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Postby gailr » Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:01 pm

"We had not forgotten that two years ago we were ignored."
I would not give this sentence another thought.

"We had not forgotten that two years earlier we were ignored."
I would stop―especially if the sentence were out of context, as here―to wonder, 'earlier than what?'.

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Postby sluggo » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:20 am

Either or either, but 'earlier' looks slightly more elegant to my ears. Agreed it is context-dependent, but actually 'ago' is in one sense more vague, begging the question whether two years before now, or two years before the time in the context, whereas 'earlier' seems to nail down the point of reference.
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Postby melissa » Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:12 pm

To me there is no difference, ago means in the past, as does earlier. I might think 'ago' the better word, just for being shorter. If in a speech. Otherwise, would not worry.
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Postby brogine » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:36 pm

Thank you for your interest, but I still think that 'ago' means 'prior to this utterance.' Consider this:

"Everyone rose when Mr. Churchill entered the room. Two year ago that would have been unlikely."


Incidentally, Sluggo, I don't think you mean 'begging the question'...
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Postby Perry » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:25 pm

Reading your first and last posts, it seems that you have changed your thinking about the word ago.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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Postby sluggo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:27 pm

brogine wrote:Thank you for your interest, but I still think that 'ago' means 'prior to this utterance.' Consider this:

"Everyone rose when Mr. Churchill entered the room. Two year ago that would have been unlikely."


Incidentally, Sluggo, I don't think you mean 'begging the question'...


Ah, well then perhaps you didn't mean to beg opinions :( ?*
As the Black Knight, then, we shall call it a draw. :?

*the original query was proffered some 2 months ago; however should we revisit this current exchange in a year, we would speak of the original as having taken place two months earlier than (I'd prefer prior to) the subject (this exchange), but 14 months ago. Different reference points.

Strangely, I was the only opinionator to agree with your original premise. I'm still in the same place six weeks later.

opinions- the first one's free...
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