Since...ago.

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Lapuente

Member
Spanish (Spain)
Dear all,

I have some doubts about the use of the prep. since and the adverb ago in the same time adverbial (at the end of sentences, I mean)


Can they really go together? for example, Can I say?...I have practiced aerobics since a few days ago, or since five years ago....and... Is it posssible using them out of the present perfect tense? I had always heard/ thought that they both cannot go together.

Can anybody help me?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes it is possible. We use 'since' with a specified time.

    Examples
    since yesterday
    since the end of the war
    since the tax rates went up
    etc.


    The word 'ago' specifies a time.
    Examples
    I went there yesterday.
    I went there three days ago.
    That happened ten years ago.


    Usually we would say "
    I have practiced aerobics for a few days" grammatically speaking there is nothing wrong with saying "I have practiced aerobics since a few days ago"

    I think it is unusual to say it that way but not incorrect.
     
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    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    Grammar says that "ago" can only be used with a past tense. Usage may have changed over the last few years, though.

    ago
    Typical mistakes: *I have left school three years ago.

    2 Ago is used with a past tense, not the present perfect. (See 245.5.)
    I left school three years ago.

    245.5
    Ago is not used to talk about the length of actions and situations, or when they start. When we use ago, we simply say when past events happened: but we say it by 'counting backwards' from the present, not by giving dates. Ago is used with a past tense.

    M Swan, Practical English Usage. Oxford, 1980
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A few years ago there was a big discussion of this issue in the Spanish forum, at http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=430426&highlight=living+since+months+ago . As you will see if you have the time to read through it all, opinion was divided.
    Hello sound shift. I read through the thread. I don't see any division of opinions between the native English speakers. Do you have an example?


    Grammar says that "ago" can only be used with a past tense. Usage may have changed over the last few years, though.

    ago
    Typical mistakes: *I have left school three years ago.

    2 Ago is used with a past tense, not the present perfect. (See 245.5.)
    I left school three years ago.

    245.5
    Ago is not used to talk about the length of actions and situations, or when they start. When we use ago, we simply say when past events happened: but we say it by 'counting backwards' from the present, not by giving dates. Ago is used with a past tense.

    M Swan, Practical English Usage. Oxford, 1980
    Hello Agró. I'm not sure what point you are making. I agree with M. Swan but the quotes you give don't address the current question in my opinion :)

    I left school three years ago. :tick:
    I have left school three years ago. :cross:

    I have been living here since five years. :cross:
    I have been living here since five years ago. :tick: (Perfectly correct although unusual)

    "When we use ago, we simply say when past events happened. That was exactly my point. You use 'since' with a specified time and 'ago' provides a specified time.
     

    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    Hello Agró. I'm not sure what point you are making. I agree with M. Swan but the quotes you give don't address the current question in my opinion :)

    I left school three years ago. :tick:
    I have left school three years ago. :cross:

    I have been living here since five years. :cross:
    I have been living here since five years ago. :tick: (Perfectly correct although unusual)

    "When we use ago, we simply say when past events happened. That was exactly my point. You use 'since' with a specified time and 'ago' provides a specified time.
    My point is that we Spanish speakers tend to express duration with things like "since three years ago" (desde hace tres años). As far as I know, duration in English is not expressed that way, but with the preposition "for" ("for three years"). So, what I was trying to tell the OP is that when he wants to say "desde hace" in English, he'd better thing of "for", not of "since... ago".
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello sound shift. I read through the thread. I don't see any division of opinions between the native English speakers. Do you have an example?
    Hello Biffo. Soy Yo, at post 25 of that thread, objects to "I have been living with him since eight months ago", while Loob says at post 32, "I don't have too much of a problem either with 'I have been living with him since eight months ago'." In the English Only forum, at post 27 of http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=526007&page=2&highlight=since+ago+Spanish , Loob reflects on that thread. She says that she was one of the "minority" who argued that the sentence was OK.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My point is that we Spanish speakers tend to express duration with things like "since three years ago" (desde hace tres años). As far as I know, duration in English is not expressed that way, but with the preposition "for" ("for three years"). So, what I was trying to tell the OP is that when he wants to say "desde hace" in English, he'd better thing of "for", not of "since... ago".
    I understand what you mean. I could continue to make the case for occasional use of "since...ago" and I believe I could come up with an example where it would be the best solution. However I won't do so unless requested because, as you say, it is better for learners to stick with the most common idiom. :)

    Hello Biffo. Soy Yo, at post 25 of that thread, objects to "I have been living with him since eight months ago", while Loob says at post 32, "I don't have too much of a problem either with 'I have been living with him since eight months ago'." In the English Only forum, at post 27 of http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=526007&page=2&highlight=since+ago+Spanish , Loob reflects on that thread. She says that she was one of the "minority" who argued that the sentence was OK.
    Apologies. I realise now that I hadn't read the whole thread. I'm happy to agree with Loob but I can see that there is some disagreement.
     
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