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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 327
    #1

    back then / then

    Is it necessary to use the word back i n the expression back then ?

    I had a great job in the 70 ties and I was very happy then / back then.

    Does "back" add any extra info or can I leave it out?

    cheers,

    Magda

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #2

    Re: back then / then

    Hello Magda,

    "Back" in such expressions serves as an intensifier: it gives a physical sense of the past as something remote.

    In your example, I would use it, to emphasise the pastness. An alternative would be "in those days".

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #3

    Re: back then / then

    'back' is colloquial and adds further distance to the idea of 'the time when', so makes a stronger contrast with 'as things are now'...usually because those that use it remember those past times as better in some way, long gone, and therefore seemingly far off, remote. 'back' in this sense = in/into the past.

    In my day, children were more polite to their elders.
    Back in my day, children were more...

    So -
    I had a great job in the 70s - everything was better then!
    I had a great job in the 70s - everything was better back then!

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