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I have made up the sentences below.

(1) Two summers ago, when I travelled to ABC, I met my long lost friend.

(1) Two years ago in the summer, when I travelled to ABC, I met my long lost friend.

Which phrase is correct? Thanks.

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  • Native speakers wouldn't normally use "summers" like this to reference the passage of time, because it's essentially a poetic / literary usage. Google Bard might be making this up (I can't be bothered to check), but it tells me Shakespeare had "A lovely boy of fifteen summers" in As You Like It, and "This seven summers, since" in The Merchant of Venice. But we don't usually talk like that today. Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 13:58
  • Note that although it's likely you went to ABC in summer, that's not inherent to the construction. Shakespeare's boy wasn't necessarily born in summer, even if the precise wording was changed to A boy born fifteen summers ago. So if that point is important, you should choose the second option above purely for that reason (that's additional to the fact that you don't necessarily want to sound "poetically antiquated"). Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 14:02

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Both are fine, and unless you are writing a legal document, mean close enough to the same thing that nobody should worry about it.

"Two summers ago" is marginally shorter, so for that reason alone, I prefer it.

Being legalistic, I suppose that "two years ago, in the summer" would have the same meaning if written in spring and autumn of 2023, but different meanings if written in the autumn of 2022 and the spring of 2023. But "two summers ago would have the same meaning if written in the autumn of 2022 and the spring of 2023, and different meanings if written in spring and autumn of 2023. But because there is considerable vagueness about such a statement, you shouldn't overthink this

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