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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    a lot earlier on

    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier on, because whoever ends up writing my biography is gonna have a lot of questions about my life in the years leading up to middle school. (Diary of a Wimpy Kid-The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney)

    What does "on" mean in the above sentence?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know! Please~~Thank you :)

  2. Senior Member
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    #2

    Re: a lot earlier on

    It means "much earlier than I have started".

  3. Senior Member
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    #3

    Re: a lot earlier on

    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier on
    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier

    Do they mean the same?
    If I make any mistakes in English, please let me know! Please~~Thank you :)

  4. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a lot earlier on

    Quote Originally Posted by Maybo View Post
    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier on.
    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier.
    I much prefer the second.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a lot earlier on

    Quote Originally Posted by Maybo View Post
    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier on
    I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier

    Do they mean the same?
    Yes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a lot earlier on

    Like with later and later on, there is a basic difference in use between earlier and earlier on.

    The on serves as non-specific way to quickly reference the timeframe (you could call it the 'temporal context') within which the events are mutually understood by both speaker and listener to be taking place.

    That is, when we say later on, it may mean 'later this morning', 'later today', 'later in the film we're watching', 'later in the story I'm telling you', 'later in the game we're playing', 'later in the course we're doing', etcetera, depending on the situation. The listener will generally always know what the speaker means.

    In the OP sentence, I assume that on is used to mean in my life. I wish I'd started keeping a journal a lot earlier in my life. It's hard to say for sure without seeing more context. What we know for sure is that the wimpy kid has some period of time in mind.

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