As I age, I am now remembering 50 years ago.

We are in a good condition compared to before the war.

In these sentence are “ago” and “before” used as a noun or is there a hidden noun before them like “ the event 50 years ago” or “the time before the war”?

  • They are both adverbs Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 21:32
  • in good condition, no a
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 22:37
  • 1
    @Lambie - the indefinite article is acceptable. From UK Govt on responsibilities of landlords of rented housing: 'Regularly test appliances and maintain them in a good condition, making sure that any furniture supplied has the required labels and fire resistance.' Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 22:44
  • @Lambie - If someone or something is in shape, or in good shape, they are in a good state of health or in a good condition. If they are in bad shape, they are in a bad state of health or in a bad condition. (Collins Dictionary) Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 22:46
  • @MichaelHarvey Yeah, I see well, Please just tell me. I will believe you. I hate having dicts. quoted at me. In AmE, we wouldn't use the a determiner. Cheers. Must get something down me before I pass out (all bollocksed up with technical trans. on minting coins(
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 22:56

2 Answers 2


"50 years ago" is an adverbial phrase referring to a particular time. Times themselves are nouns, so it makes sense to understand this as a noun phrase meaning, "the time period 50 years ago".

Likewise, "before the war" is a prepositional phrase with the same function as above. The meaning and function is the same as "the time before the war".


Yes, you have it. In both cases, “the time” has been omitted as understood. They are examples of ellipsis, the practice of omitting certain words that are obvious in context. So it is the implied word, a noun, that is the object of “remembering” and “compared to.”

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