The word ago is commonly used when indicating something in the past. In this lesson, we will learn more about it.

How to Use "Ago" in English?

'Ago' mainly functions as a postposition in English. In this lesson, we will discuss postpositions and how to learn and use them.

Functions of 'Ago'

What Are Postpositions?

Postpositions are words that are used to show the relation of a noun or pronoun to some other words in a sentence. In their functions, postpositions are identical to prepositions. However, prepositions come before the noun, while postpositions come after the noun. Below, we are going to analyze 'ago' as a common postposition in English.

'Ago' as a Postposition


Most people agree that 'ago' is the only postposition in English. It only functions as a postposition of time to indicate some time in the past. The words after which we put 'ago' are called a 'complement'. Study the following examples:

I remember being overly active many years ago.

John commented bitterly about my analysis two hours ago.

Position in a Sentence

There are no limitations as to where we put 'ago' in a sentence. We can begin a sentence with it, put it in the middle, or at the end of the sentences. Take a look at the following examples for more clarification:

Several decades ago, people made a foolish mistake of selecting an ignorant religious man as their leader.

I was happy a few minutes ago, till I heard the devastating news.

My brother did something extraordinary a week ago.


Please note that whenever we use 'ago' and its complement at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence, a comma is necessary after them.

Idioms and Expressions with 'Ago'

We only have one idiom with 'ago' and we are going to learn all about it below:

  • Many moons ago: When we want to talk about something that happened a long time ago, we use this expression:

Nirvana was tremendously popular among teens many moons ago.

Many moons ago, going to theaters was a popular activity among people.

Adverb or Postposition?

Although in many cases, 'ago' is considered an adverb, it is better to be called a 'postposition' because adverbs can function on their own whereas, a postposition cannot be used alone and it always follows its complement. Compare:

A : Can you hold this for me, please?

B : Absolutely.

Mr. Swift was elected as the lieutenant a few minutes ago.

(Not Mr. Swift was elected as the lieutenant ago..)


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