The English language has different terminologies to mention the time factor in the sentences.
Of course, using correct tense forms can determine the time, but what do we do while talking about a ‘certain point in time?’
English is classical when it comes to the bifurcation of any aspect. The aspect of time is also dealt with impeccably for every possible instance of time.
There are two virtual instances in time. One is ‘Period’, and the other is ‘Point in Time’. These two make a lot of difference in time factor while mentioning it in sentences.
Over some time; A year, A month, 10 years, summer, etc. The specific point is one year, 2 days, 30 minutes, etc.
Indeed, the examples cited in both categories may also feature in either case, depending on the context of the sentence.
The two critical words which play a vital role in enunciating ‘point in time’ alone are ‘Since’ and ‘Ago’.
They both fall under the same bracket of ‘past’; however, they have many differences.
- “Since” indicates a point in time from which an action or state has continued up to the present, while “ago” refers to a specific period that has passed before the present moment.
- “Since” is followed by a specific point in time (e.g., a date, a year, or a named event), whereas “ago” follows a duration of time (e.g., hours, days, or years).
- “Since” is used with present perfect and past perfect verb forms to show a connection to the present, while “ago” is used with simple past verb forms to describe past events.
Since vs Ago
The difference between Since and Ago is that ‘Since’ denotes something still happening in the present; however, ‘Ago’ is the word that points out time in the past.
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|Parameter of Comparison||Since||Ago|
|Purpose||‘Since’ indicates an event happening from the past to the present.||‘Ago’ is used to indicate a time in the past.|
|Order of Placement||‘Since’ is always placed before the specific point in time in the sentence.||‘Ago’ is always placed after a specific point in time in the sentence.|
|Tense Form||‘Since’ is consistently featured in Present Perfect tense sentences.||‘Ago’ is consistently featured in past tense sentences.|
|Usage||‘Since’ is used to point out a specific point in time.||‘Ago’ points to an event that has been actioned or changed in the past.|
|Place in the Sentence||‘Since’ is the word that always features at the start or middle of the sentence.||‘Ago’ always features at the end of the sentence.|
When to Use the Word Since?
‘Since’ is the word used to indicate a continuing happening in the past. ‘Since points’ out a specific point in time in history.
- They have been living for 4 years.
- Alice has been playing cricket on the ground since last month.
If the above sentences are analyzed, 2 aspects can be found
- The happening of the past continues until the present.
- The penalty points out a specific point in time.
Moreover, ‘Since’ is always used before the specific point in time mentioned in the sentence.
- They have been studying for 20 minutes.
- Lilly has been reading this book since last week.
As it is noticed, the word ‘Since’ is always placed before a specific point in time.
Reiterating the same, ‘Since’ is used before a specific point in time in a sentence and also denotes the action still happening.
‘Since’ is often observed to be used in Present Perfect Tense Sentences.
‘Since’ is the word used to denote continuing happenings; it is used before a specific point in time and also features in present perfect tense sentences.
When to Use the Word Ago?
‘Ago’ is the word used to point to a time in the past. ‘Ago’ is usually mentioned in past tense sentences.
- He lived there 5 years ago.
- The war happened centuries ago.
On analyzing the above two sentences, two things can be identified.
- The specific point in time is mentioned in the sentences.
- The sentences talk about something that happened a period’ earlier.
‘Ago’ is primarily used to indicate a particular happening in the past which is over. Unlike ‘Since’, Ago does not feature in any present perfect tense sentences.
The word ‘Ago’ is always mentioned after a specific point in time in sentences.
- The destruction happened 10 years ago.
- They left the house 2 months ago.
‘Ago’ is a word that can also be used in two critical aspects.
- ‘Ago’ can be used in sentences about the past from the present.
- ‘Ago’ can also be used in sentences that talk about the past from the past.
- He died long ago.
- His mother called an hour ago.
The first sentence deals with the past from the present, while the second sentence also gives the history in time from the past.
Main Differences Between Since and Ago
- The main difference between Since and Ago is ‘Since’ denotes something still happening in the present; however, ‘Ago’ is the word that points out time in the past.
- ‘Since’ is always placed before a specific point in time, whereas ‘Ago’ is placed after a particular point in a sentence.
- ‘Since’ often features in present perfect tense sentences, while ‘Ago’ features in past tense sentences.
- ‘Since’ indicates a specific point in time, while ‘Ago’ indicates an event or a change in action from the past.
- ‘Since’ is always paced at the beginning or the middle of the sentence, while ‘Ago’ is placed at the end of the sentence.
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.