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Please help me with the correct answers and explain the reason why. Thank you.

Fill in the blank using before or ago.

1. She siad she had been to America 10 years ____.

2. She said " I went to America 10 years ___ . "
Comments  
We don't normally just do these kinds of exercises for students when they have shown no evidence that they have already tried on their own.

Here's a hint: ago measures time from the moment of the utterance.

Why don't you try to answer them with that hint in mind? And then we'll see how we can help.

CJ
Well I know the answer but I don't know why "before" is used in sentence 1 instead of using "ago" in sentence 1. Can you explain the usuage of "before" in sentence 1 ?? Thanks.

1.) She said she had been to America 10 years before.

2.) She said " I went to America 10 years ago."
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OK. As stated above, ago measures time from the moment of the utterance.

When I tell you (right now) that she did something two years ago, then she did it two years before today, the day I tell you.

When I tell you that she said that she had been to America ten years ago, then she went to America ten years before today, the day I tell you.

You don't want to say that. You want to say that she went to America ten years before the day she said so, not ten years before the day I tell you about it.

_________

Suppose today is August 1, 2009.
Suppose she spoke to me long ago about this. She spoke to me about it on January 27, 2006.

She said she had been to America 10 years ago. = She said she had been to America August 1, 1999.

She said she had been to America 10 years before. = She said she had been to America January 27, 1996.

CJ
Further question:

You meantion:

She said she had been to America 10 years ago. = She said she had been to America August 1, 1999.

What about " She said she went to America 10 years ago,?"

Is that correc tto say "she said she went to America 10 years ago?" If so, what does it mean?

" She said she went to America 10 years ago."

= "She said she had been to America 10 years ago,"

= She said She had been to America August 1, 1999. ???

If I remember it correct, present perfect or past perfect can not be used on a specific past date, such as Aguest 1, 1999, in this case. If a specific past date is used, we shoud used past tence, shouldn't we? Thus, which one is correct "She said she had been to America August 1, 19991" or " She said she went to America Agust 1, 1999 ?"
AnonymousWhat about "She said she went to America 10 years ago?"
The same logic applies. It doesn't matter if you say "went", "had gone", or "had been". The meaning of ago and before doesn't change.

"went" and "had gone" refer to the trip to America. "had been" refers to the visit there -- the trip there, the stay there, and the return from there.
AnonymousIf I remember it correct, present perfect or past perfect can not be used on a specific past date, such as Aguest August 1, 1999, in this case.
That's not exactly correct. That applies only to the present perfect, not to the past perfect. (Don't feel bad; many people forget this.) Both "went" and "had been" are correct with the date. "has been" with a date would be very wrong!

Emotion: smile

CJ
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I think there is a problem with “10 years ago,” which verb does it refer to?

1. “10 years ago” refer to “had been”

She said (on January 27, 2006) [that] 10 years ago, she had been to .

= She said (on January 27, 2006) [that] on/before January 27,1996, she had been to . ( before is better, in my opion.)

= She said (on January 27, 2006) [that] before January 27, 1996, she was in .

2. “10 years ago” refer to “said”

She said she had been to 10 years ago.( from today's date, August 1, 2009.)

= 10 year ago on August 1, 1999, she said [that] she had been to .

= She was in before August 1, 1999 and she mentioned that fact to me on August 1, 1999, which was 10 years from today’s date, August 1, 2009.

But I am not sure about "10 years before." Any idea , anyone?