AGO and BEFORE:
Which should I use?
Welcome to this online English lesson about using the words ago and before. Start by watching the video and then read the summary below.
When using the word "before," we have to reference another point in time. This can be a
- time (3 pm) - I will arrive home before 3 pm.
- day (Thursday) - Please email me the report before Thursday.
- month (March) - Before March, it is quite cold in Berlin.
- year (1983) - Before 1983, I wasn't born.
- event (the fall of the Berlin Wall, moving to Paris) - Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I couldn't easily visit East Germany.
- something you previously referred to (in this case, use "then") - I had called my brother 10 minutes before then, luckily.
We can also talk about "before now." However, when talking about the amount of time before now, it's better to simply use the word "ago." For example:
- I moved to Berlin 5 years ago.
- The US gained its independence 230 years ago.
- 20 years ago, I was still living with my parents.