What is the difference between ago and before when they are both used as adverbs in the following sentences:

I saw him seven days ago.


I had seen him seven days before.

closed as off-topic by jimm101, user140086, Drew, ab2, curiousdannii Feb 29 '16 at 9:44

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In this particular context, ago and before are pretty much synonymous. In general, ago is an absolute value, while before is relative, in a sense.

For example, if today is July 4, and you tell someone you saw them two days ago, that means you saw them on July 2. If you tell them you saw them "two days before today," that means the same thing. But if you instead say "I saw them two days before the first," that means you saw them near the end of June.

If I say "I saw them two days before you did," and you saw them on April 15, then I saw them on April 13.

  • 1
    If you told me you'd seen them two days before. I'd ask, "Two days before what?" – Jim Feb 14 '16 at 4:08

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