# while four to three years ago...

#### Deslandes

##### Senior Member
I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm sorry if I make any mistake. What I would like to translate into French and I am not being able to is this:

"While four to three years ago the salaries were X, now they have lowered to Y".

Si quatre à trois avant... ? It doesn't sound good to me...

Any help will be very appreciated.

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• #### Boiron

##### Member
"Alors qu'il y a trois ou quatre ans en arrière les salaires étaient X, ils sont maintenant de Y" ?

EDIT :

I don't understand why the number 4 is before the number 3. I might not get the meaning of this sentence actually.

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#### Suehil

##### Medemod
Are you sure it is not 'while four to three years ago....' ? Then it would be 'tandis qu'il y a quatre....'

(The four to three inversion is because four years ago is earlier than three years ago)

#### Deslandes

##### Senior Member
I want to say that four, three years ago the salaries were higher than they are now.

#### Deslandes

##### Senior Member
Are you sure it is not 'while four to three years ago....' ? Then it would be 'tandis qu'il y a quatre....'
"While" works as well.

#### Boiron

##### Member
(The four to three inversion is because four years ago is earlier than three years ago)
Is it something particular to the British English language ? I've never heard something like this in the US (putting the biggest number first).

Last time someone explained it to me, he used an analogy I will try to describe : if you consider the time as a straight line, when you move on this line to the right from the center (the center being NOW), the numbers are increasing. So you're gonna say something like : "it's going to take 2 to 3 hours". On the line, you first encounter the number 2 and then the number 3.
But when you talk about the past, you move to the left so the first numbers you encounter are small. That's why you're supposed to say : "While three to five years ago..."

Any help ?

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