Before vs. Ago

I'm sure you've already thought about the similarities and differences between 'before' and 'ago'. Well, I'm gonna tell you all there is about them.

"Before" vs. "Ago" in the English Grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

'Before' can be both an adverb and a preposition of time and place. 'Ago', on the other hand, is mainly a postposition. We use before to indicate doing something prior to another whereas, we use 'ago' to refer to past times.

Differences

'Before' can function as both an adverb, a preposition, and a subordinating conjunction. When it is a preposition of time, it shows an action is taking place before another. As a preposition of place, it means to be prior to, or in front of something/someone. As an adverb of time, it indicates an indefinite time in the past. When it is a subordinating conjunction, it connects a dependent clause to an independent one. Below, we have examples for you:

Before the wedding, remind to wear a cravat.

Here, 'before' is a preposition of time.

Before she made salad, she washed all the dirty dishes.

Here, 'before' is a subordinating conjunction.

My name was always before hers.

Here, 'before' is a preposition of place.

I remember how mom used to nag at me for nothing before.

Here, 'before' is an adverb.

'Ago' is a postposition, meaning that it comes after the noun/noun phrase it is modifying. Also, 'ago' shows a particular time in the past in relation to the present time. Below, we have provided some examples for you:

Oh! All these memories seem such a long time ago.

My daughter and I used to go swimming in the lake twenty years ago.

Similarities

They have no similarities.

Are They Interchangeable?

Since these two words are completely different, we cannot use them interchangeably. Compare:

Before accepting her request, sleep on it.

Here, we are pointing out that something must take place prior to something else.

X Ago accepting her request, sleep on it.

As you can see here, we cannot use 'ago' before a noun. It does not make any sense.

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