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    #1

    Prior and ago

    The traffic was real bad twenty minutes ago.

    Can we use 'prior' to replace 'ago' here? Thank you.

  1. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #2

    Re: Prior and ago

    Quote Originally Posted by jiaruchan View Post
    The traffic was really bad twenty minutes ago.

    Can we use 'prior' to replace 'ago' here? Thank you.
    You can, but generally the word "prior" needs to be followed by "to" and some word or phrase to indicate exactly when it was.

    For instance, you might say:

    "The traffic was really bad twenty minutes prior to the start of the soccer match."

    "Ago," on the other hand, indicates that the traffic was bad twenty minutes before this present moment, that is, "prior to now."

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: Prior and ago

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    You can, but generally the word "prior" needs to be followed by "to" and some word or phrase to indicate exactly when it was.

    For instance, you might say:

    "The traffic was really bad twenty minutes prior to the start of the soccer match."

    "Ago," on the other hand, indicates that the traffic was bad twenty minutes before this present moment, that is, "prior to now."
    I know it is very colloquial. I heard it from a radio announcer in Chicago. That was the first time I heard 'prior' can be used like this. 'Real' is colloquially used to replace 'really' as an adverb, isn't it?

  2. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #4

    Re: Prior and ago

    Quote Originally Posted by jiaruchan View Post
    I know it is very colloquial. I heard it from a radio announcer in Chicago. That was the first time I heard 'prior' can be used like this. 'Real' is colloquially used to replace 'really' as an adverb, isn't it?
    Yes, you may hear "prior" by itself, but it usually follows a previous sentence where you have established when it is that you are talking about. People might say "prior" instead of "prior to now," but that is ambiguous. I would always be asking myself, "prior to what"? "Ago" does not share this problem.

    As for "real," yes, it is often used in such sentences. It is grammatically incorrect, since the adjective "bad" needs to be modified by the adverb form, "really." On this forum it is important to point out what is correct, since you want to use it correctly in your writing.

    Having said that, you increasingly hear people misusing their adjectives. In fact, it sometimes gives a folksy, "down home" flavor, as when a football announcer says, "He kicked that ball real good."

    It bothers me, but then I have a hard enough teaching students to write correctly without this kind of "help" from the media.

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