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The word "ago" is an adverb that is used with the past tense. When we say something happened a time ago, the comparison is between now and that past time. The word "ago" often appears at the end of a sentence or a clause but not always.

  • She was born 42 years ago in Egypt.
  • He moved to New York ten years ago.
  • The accident happened a few weeks ago.
  • Five years ago, Marta and Jose moved to Chicago.
  • Over 30 years ago I began my career as a teacher.
  • Rome was a powerful city state two thousand years ago.
  • Planet Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago.
  • That was a long time ago.

Teacher Paul's conference bike in Minneapolis 2008

I operated a conference bike business

in Minneapolis over ten years ago.

To indicate a relatively long passage of time, make a plural of a unit of time, such as days, weeks, years, and then use the word "ago."

  • The plane left hours ago.
  • He turned in his assignment days ago.
  • They moved away months ago.
  • The last time I saw her was years ago.
  • That was weeks ago.
  • That was ages ago. (ages = a long time)
  • That happened some years ago. (some years = three to ten years–very indefinite)

When forming questions, the word "ago" can go at the end of the question or after the words "how long."

  • Where did you live five years ago?
  • How long ago did you live in China?
  • What were you doing twenty years ago?
  • How long ago were you a student?
  • How long ago did you attend school?
  • How many years ago did they get married?
  • How many years ago did you start learning English?

This video provides additional instruction for the word "ago."


Click here for more English vocabulary.

September 1, 2019



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