before 2 billion years or 2 billion years ago?

onitamo

Senior Member
Serbo-Croatian
Which is right to say?

before 2 billion years
or
2 billion years ago?

complete sentence where this should appear:

Volcanic activity on it completed
before two billion years.

sometimes I see intexts it is used 'before', sometimes 'ago' therefore I am confused.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    We say "two billion years ago," and never "before two billion years" when talking about time in the past. Your sentence, by the way, has other problems.
     

    mmafan67

    Member
    English- American
    Transversely, if you were to say "the volcanic activity had ceased before 2 billion years" that would mean that it took under 2 billion years for the volcanic activity to cease. This is directly related to the saying, "Before long.." meant to represent that something did not take a long time.

    -Before long, he had mastered the art of calligraphy.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    if you were to say "the volcanic activity had ceased before 2 billion years" that would mean that it took under 2 billion years for the volcanic activity to cease.
    To convey that meaning, I would say, "The volcanic activity had ceased before 2 billion years had passed."

    Compare with, "I repaired it, but it fell to pieces again before five minutes had passed."
     

    mmafan67

    Member
    English- American
    To convey that meaning, I would say, "The volcanic activity had ceased before 2 billion years had passed."
    Maybe it's different in England but the "had passed" to my knowledge is implied and therefore not required. Perhaps a different wording would clear things up a bit:

    Before 2 billion years, all volcanic activity had come to a halt.

    "had", in this case, is meant to represent that this event happened before 2 billion years was reached.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Maybe it's different in England but the "had passed" to my knowledge is implied and therefore not required. Perhaps a different wording would clear things up a bit:

    Before 2 billion years, all volcanic activity had come to a halt.
    I'm afraid I agree with PaulQ that "before 2 billion years" in both your suggested sentences just leaves me hanging waiting for you to finish the thought. Before 2 billion years what? had passed, BCE, ago, ...
     

    onitamo

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    volcanic activities had finished 2 billion years ago (not ceased)...there is no volcanic activities on Moon as I understand..
    but here I checked ..it is written "Even the youngest mareflows have estimated ages of nearly 1 billion years. These "young" rocks have not been sampled or directly dated, however, so this age is very poorly known"
    "Because the Moon does not show any evidence for recent volcanic or geologic activity, it is sometimes called a "dead" planet."
    source:
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/oldroot/volcanoes/planet_volcano/lunar/Overview.html
     

    onitamo

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    I noticed you used most word 'ceased' but if volcanic activities had finished why the word 'completed' is not OK? You know better, just please. explain..I am learning.:)
    "volcanic activities completed 2 billion years ago" -what is not right in this sentence if we suppose that after that there was no volcanic activities?
    'ceased' means to me that there are still possibilities for volcanic activities and they happen but not so often..am I wrong?
     
    Last edited:

    mmafan67

    Member
    English- American
    Considering there is no ulterior motive or set goal for a volcano, it is more appropriate to say ceased or something along the lines of no longer continued, rather then finished. Stopped would also be acceptable, but ceased sounds nicer.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    "Volcanic activity on it ceased two billion years ago" is correct as long as it's clear from the preceding sentence what "it" refers to.
     
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