English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Like in the title, I wanted to say something like "I'm no longer that way, it was long long ago", so should it be "ages ago" or "ages before"? For some reason, the first instinct was "ages ago", then it is an "I have been......" pattern, somehow, I felt "ago" just doesn't fit here? Plzzzzz help

share|improve this question
As @rintaun says, the normal usage is "ages ago". However, you can use "ages before" in a relative construction, when referring to two periods in the past. For example, "The last of the dinosaurs vanished in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event; ages before, however, the Permian Extinction Event destroyed even more species." – Robusto Jun 26 '11 at 12:37

First things first: in this case, it's "ages ago." Using "before" seems to require some kind of extra information, e.g. "ages before I turned thirty."

Additionally, you should probably be using the past tense:

I went through that stage ages ago.

The present perfect (of which "have been" is an example) is used to express an unspecified time before the present. That's why "ages ago" didn't seem to mesh: because you were specifying the time. On the other hand, either of the following would work just fine, because the time remains unspecified.

I've been through that stage.

I've been through that stage many times.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
What if I just wanna empasize that it was "long long ago" thing? How else can I say it? – Daisy Jun 26 '11 at 3:38
@Daisy: As I said in my answer, "I went through that stage ages ago" would probably work nicely. Alternately, you could use "years ago," "forever ago," or any similar expression. – rintaun Jun 26 '11 at 3:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.