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Hi,

I went there two days ago. Everything seemed to be fine, but
(1) two days later, things changed dramatically.
(2) two days after, things changed dramatically.
(3) things changed dramatically after two days.
(4) things changed dramatically two days later.

I'm confused with the order of the "time adverb" in a sentence.

Are they interchangeable?
before two days/ two days before
after two days/ two days after/ two days later
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Comments  
To me all of those sentences sound good except for #2. English's rules for the placement of "time adverbs" aren't as strict as they are in most other languages. It's very flexible in that way, which also translates to confusion! Don't feel bad if you have trouble with it. It's similar to what I've gone through in learning other languages; their rules are more strict, but because my brain is wired for English's lack of rules on the subject, I have a hard time remembering where they go in whichever language I'm trying in vain to learn.

The reason #2 doesn't sound right is because "after" is a preposition, and as such it needs an object. So, for the sentence to sound right, it would need to say something like, "two days after that happened, things changed dramatically."

Keep up the learning, Pastel! You're a LEARNING MACHINE! heheh
Hi there, how are things?

Something happened after 2 days.
Something happened before 2 days.

The second one sounds incorrect. Could you tell me why?

Pastel
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The second one sounds weird because when you use before with "2 days" it usually needs something after "2 days". I can't really explain why, though. I can give you examples, though.

It should be more like, "Something happened before 2 days had passed."

"Something happened within 2 days." Within is one of those words that makes it so you don't have to have something after "2 days". Sorry, I know that's a horrible explanation, but it's all I can think of right now.
I went out before he had finished his job.

>This is the sequence of event. I went out before the moment that he had finished his job. This makes sense to me.

Something happened before 2 days had passed.

> This doesn't make sence though because I would think the conjunction 'before' clashed with the verb 'passed'.

It's hard to explain because I'm not an English teacher...sorry!

But, the two don't clash. You're describing what happened between the original event and 2 days after that event, but it was in the past that all of this happened, so you would have to use "passed" to describe the changing of time.

I hope that makes more sense...sorry it's such a crummy explanation!
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hehe, that's not a crummy explanation. It helps a lot though.

Can't a native speaker be a English teacher at the same time? There are a bunch of foreigners here teaching English, and I don't really think they are TRUE teachers although students keep calling them 'Teacher Stephan' or 'Teacher Jone'. I would say they 'talk about' English naturally. If you ever ask me any rules in my language, I would probably give you a crummier explanation. I'm glad you help me develope a feeling in English.

I want to describe two events that happened in the past, the original event and 2 days before that event.
1. original event

> Today, July 17, is John's birthday.
2. two days before the original event.

> I broke up with him on July 15.

Output==> I broke up with John 2 days before his birthday.

Am I wrong this time?

Nope, you're not wrong at all! You nailed that one! Good job, Pastel!

Yeah, a native speaker can be an English teacher, but I didn't go to school to teach English. As a result, I can't always give great explanations of rules or why things are the way they are from a technical or rule standpoint. All I can do is tell ya why I think something sounds funny or why it sounds good. So I don't feel qualified to be called an English Teacher.

But I'm glad I can help you!!!
Thanks for the help, haoqide. [F]

Another question come to mind.
later/ later on


1-a What are you doing later on this morning? (OK)
1-b What are you doing later this morning? (OK)

2-a Talk to you later.
2-b Talk to you later on. (sounds weird.)
2-c Few days later, he kissed me.
2-d Few days later on, he kissed me. (again, sounds funny!)
2-e We cuddled. Later we kissed.
2-f We cuddled. Later on we kissed.
2-g We cuddled. And we kissed later. (even funnier, I am thinking that we cuddled but we may not kiss.)
2-h We cuddled first and then we kissed later on. (still funny but better than 2-f)
2-i We cuddled first and then we kissed.

Sorry for the mess. I was trying to think up all fantacies that 'cuddle and kiss' could have.
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