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  1. #1
    beachboy is offline Key Member
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    That was way back when.

    "I remember seeing this film, but that was way back when". Is the expression "way back when" still common in everyday English?

  2. #2
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    "Way back when" has never been used as far as I'm concerned.
    Last edited by andrewg927; 31-Jul-2017 at 21:32.

  3. #3
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: That was way back when.

    Way back when​ is common in the American English of my region. It means "a long time ago".
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    As a native speaker of American English, I concur that "way back when" is a common colloquialism.
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

  5. #5
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    It's not really used by me or the people around me.

  6. #6
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    I don't doubt it. There are a lot of words or phrases I don't personally use but other people do.

  7. #7
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    Good point. I said that because I thought the other phrase was more common. Apparently not.

  8. #8
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: That was way back when.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg927 View Post
    There are a lot of words or phrases I don't personally use but other people do.
    Quite so, Andrew. We could all say the same.

    You might consider waiting to read other people's replies before giving us the benefit of your younger generation's viewpoint.

  9. #9
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    "I remember seeing this film, but that was way back when". Is the expression "way back when" still common in everyday English?
    This is a quite common phrase where I come from, perhaps not with the younger generation. It means "a long time ago" or "back in the old days" if the person saying this is very old.

    I would add "a" to the expression though.

    "I remember seeing this film, but that was a way back when".
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
    You don't go to an Englishman when you want good pierogi.

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  10. #10
    Phaedrus's Avatar
    Phaedrus is offline Senior Member
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    Re: That was way back when.

    The OED has the following entry on the phrase:

    way back when: [short for ‘way back’ followed by a clause introduced by ‘when’ indicating to a time long past] (a) used as a title for an anecdote or narrative of times past (now rare); (b) a long time ago.
    1921 Hosp. Managem. Feb. 51/2 A popular feature of a metropolitan newspaper is a ‘Way Back When’ column which appears daily under the stereotyped heading ‘Do You Remember Way Back When’ and the readers contribute some reminder or other of the good old days.
    1923 Rotarian June 336/1 Occasionally I have contributed..a ‘Way Back When’ recollection to the ‘Wake of the News’.
    1931 S. Thompson (title) Way back when; recollections of an octogenarian.

    1951
    Jrnl. Amer. Water Wks Assoc. 43 1 ‘Medication’, or even worse ‘mass medication’, has been plaguing fluoridationists almost ever since it was introduced innocently enough way back when.

    1984
    Sounds 1 Dec. 58/6 Relative newcomers aren't always in the best position to explain what happened way back when.

    1994 L. Erdrich
    Bingo Palace ix. 105 Zelda lives in the original log house from way back when, a place..added to over years gone by with layer on layer of Sheetrock and plaster.

    1998 T. Clancy
    Rainbow Six xx. 381 The Worldpark job was as good a bit of sorting out as I have ever seen, even better than the Iranian Embassy job in London, way back when.



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