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  1. anupumh's Avatar
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    #1

    Arrow few days ago or few days back

    Hi,

    Which is more appropriate?

    Three days ago, I meet John.

    Three days back, I meet John.

    I have been told usage of "ago" is appropriate when you are refering to moving back in time and usage of "back" is appropriate when moving back in space (please move the chair back).

    Am I correct?

    Thanks


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    #2

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    Hi,

    Which is more appropriate?

    Three days ago, I meet John.

    Three days back, I meet John.

    I have been told usage of "ago" is appropriate when you are refering to moving back in time and usage of "back" is appropriate when moving back in space (please move the chair back).

    Am I correct?

    Thanks
    I think that's largely true, but there may be exceptions due to the influence of a common expression involving time -- "back when . . (dinosaurs roamed the earth, " for example.) or
    > "Back when I was a young man, people always wore hats."

    > "Back in the day" is its own expression, meaning "Back at a previous time or circumstance"
    - "Back in the day, you never saw boys disrespecting girls like they do now."
    - "Back in the day, I was the most famous rodeo clown in the circuit."

    The existence of that expression ("Back when") may provide some legitimacy to "A few days back, I happened to bump into Hensen."

    I think "a few days back" might be more common in some regions of the US (such as down South, or maybe out West) than in other places. I think it's rural anyway.


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    #3

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Here are two examples of "back," which means "in or into the past : backward in time":

    ▪ In the opening chapter the author looks back on his youth.
    ▪ an event back in the last century

    Here are two examples of "back," which means "ago":

    ▪ It happened several years back.
    ▪ I met him in the city two days back.


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    #4

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Here are two examples of "back," which means "in or into the past : backward in time":

    ▪ In the opening chapter the author looks back on his youth.
    ▪ an event back in the last century

    Here are two examples of "back," which means "ago":

    ▪ It happened several years back.
    ▪ I met him in the city two days back.
    I think "I met him in the city two days back" might be a regionalism.
    I would always say "I met him in the city two days ago."

    We also say "Way back when."


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    #5

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Ann,

    Could I ask you to write a few example sentences including "way back when"?


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    #6

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    Ann,

    Could I ask you to write a few example sentences including "way back when"?
    It means "a long long time ago."


    "How long ago did you work in the Post Office?"
    "Oh, it was way back when."

    "Way back when I was a kid, a movie ticket cost only one dollar."

    "Telephones used to have rotary dials."
    "Wow! That musta been way back when!"
    ---------------------------

    We also use "back" meaning "a return to something previous"
    > "I'm back in the saddle again."
    - Gene Autry cowboy song
    YouTube - SINGALONG WITH GENE AUTRY / BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

    "I'm baa-ack!"
    - Jack Nickolson as a murderer in The Shining


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    #7

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    "How long ago did you work in the Post Office?"
    "Oh, it was way back when."


    Is when a conjunction or an adverb?


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    #8

    Re: few days ago or few days back

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    "How long ago did you work in the Post Office?"
    "Oh, it was way back when."


    Is when a conjunction or an adverb?
    I think it must be a conjunction.

    The expression is kind of joking, and it is meant to be a humorous reference to the way an old-timer goes on: "Why, way back when I was a boy, we did things RIGHT!"

    Finally the expression "way back when" became isolated and circulated independently, meaning "back in the day" or "in the old days."

    It is often spoken with a little stress on "when," and even maybe in such a way that you can hear the quotation marks, particularly if the speaker thinks of it as a humorous thing to say:

    "Wow! That musta been 'way back when!'"

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