Can we say (is it correct in terms of grammar and language as a whole) ?

  • There were a lot of (something) millenniums (millennia) ago

If we want to emphasise the prolonged aspect of something.

Please, don't offer "more applicable" variants, only say about grammar.

  • 2
    The plural of millennium is millenia. But I don't understand what you are asking. – Daniel Roseman Jan 9 at 13:27
  • Daniel, I ask either it can be used here or not. Can we say: "I read this book millennia ago", if we want to show that it was long ago – LoveLanguagesAndPeople Jan 9 at 13:36
  • 1
    By the way, the word "millenniums" is also allowed according to some dictionaries. – LoveLanguagesAndPeople Jan 9 at 13:37
  • 1
    Yes it is a whole and intelligible sentence, in short. But the usage of "I read this book ages ago" is more common. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Jan 9 at 13:50
  • 1
    @DanielRoseman the plural of millennium is millennia with two Ns. – Michael Harvey Jan 9 at 14:16

Gngram finds that ages ago is much more common than millennia ago.

enter image description here

In the example you gave in your comment to your own question, you give this example:

I read this book millennia ago.

Here ages ago would sound much more natural.

The example in the body of your question might work with either expression depending on what that something is. For example I would say:

There were a lot of poplars on this road ages ago (not millennia ago).


There were a lot of stone inscriptions in India millennia ago (not ages ago).

However, I do think one is free to emphasise as much as they want, in spoken language or in literature. I would definitely be ok with:

There were a lot of visitors in my father's house millennia ago, now it's so deserted!

  • 1
    But, depending on context, I might use "ages ago" to mean "years ago" or "months ago". As in "Ages ago, I had a nice fountain pen that I often used to write with. Sadly I lost it." It doesn't mean the same as "Millennia ago". – rjpond Jan 9 at 14:50
  • In a comment, the OP gave this context: "I read this book millennia ago". I would definitely rather say "ages ago" instead. – fev Jan 9 at 14:55
  • The user @rjpond has made a good point. They cannot be considered as synonyms in some situations. Especially, when we want to do emphasise. Yet fev, thanks for the answer! – LoveLanguagesAndPeople Jan 9 at 16:05

Example: Can we say: "I read this book millennia ago",

Please, don't offer "more applicable" variants, only say about grammar.

To answer the above and only the above:

Yes, it is grammatically perfect to say, "I read this book millennia ago"


It is correct, though the plural "millennia ago" would be a little better. "Years ago", "decades ago", "centuries ago": these are also all possible.

It would be rather unusual. A millennium is a period of 1000 years, so "millennia ago" would seem to reference a time between 2 and 10 thousand years ago, which is both vague (a huge period of time) and yet oddly accurate if you are considering prehistoric time. There are better ways to express this, depending on whether you mean to be vague (long ago) or accurate (5000 years BP)

Many millennia ago, for some unknown reason, the eastern lowland gorilla population severely shrank (source)


To take your example

There were a lot of (something) millenniums (millennia) ago

We could say

There were a lot of dinosaurs millenniums (millennia) ago

because they roamed the earth many thousands of years ago, in fact many millions. You could use it figuratively or humorously I suppose too

There were a lot of beatniks millenniums (millennia) ago

even though they disappeared within living memory.

To avoid unnecessary controversy I have left open the question of just exactly what the plural of millennium is in those examples.

  • Given the difference between a millennium (1000 years) and the last time there were any dinosaurs around (65,000,000 years), I think There were a lot of dinosaurs millennia ago is a bit like saying Hours ago nobody anticipated the Covid pandemic (65,000 hours being 7.5 years). – FumbleFingers Jan 10 at 17:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.