We use ago after an expression of time.
- The train went out 10 minutes ago.
Ago indicates a finished time and is normally used with a past tense.
- She telephoned five minutes ago. (NOT She has telephoned five minutes ago.)
The difference between ago and before
- I saw him two years ago. (Two years from now.)
- I had seen him two years before I went to England.
Before can be used without a time expression to mean 'any time before now/then'.
- I think I have seen him before.
Search the Dictionary of Practical English Usage
As, since, because and for
A lot of, lots of, plenty of, a great deal of
Below and under
Above and over
Both and both of
As if and as though
Fairly, quite, pretty and rather
Finally, at last, in the end and at the end
No and none
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