Although it may seem that the two
words ago and before have identical meanings, they
actually mean quite different things.
To use ago correctly,
remember that it means a certain time before the present (counted
back and including a time period). So, we say, "I met my teacher
five years ago."
To use before correctly,
remember that it means at a certain time that occurred before
another time. So, we say, "I met my teacher at the PALC in 1996,
some years before I met my Canadian wife."
Remember also that before
can also be used as a conjunction or a preposition. For example,
"He said a prayer before he went to bed." (conjunction) and
"I like to go to bed before midnight." (preposition)
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