Does the phrase "times ago" exist?

Does the phrase “times ago” exist? In an essay I’ve come across the following sentence: “There you can learn something about the life in York times ago.”

I’d rather use “in the past” or “in former times”. I’ve just googled “times ago” but I’m still unsure about its use.

Thank you for your help!

Hi Gromit

I would consider that to be an error in usage. You can say any of the following, for example:

  • hours/days/months/years/decades/centuries ago

I agree that “in the past” would be better in the sentence.

The phrase ‘times ago’ might be used occasionally, but then it would refer to a specific number of instances ago.

By the way, I taught English in Germany for many years, and I can tell you that Germans seem to be much fonder of the phrase ‘in former times’ than anyone else in the world. (In other words, that is a phrase that tends to be over-used and/or misused by German speakers of English.)

Hi Gromit,

Amy (yankee) provided a few good clues there. I’d like to add that you should have a look at used to. It’s “used as an auxiliary to express habitual or accustomed actions or states taking place in the past but not continuing to be the case in the present”.

I used to smoke, but then I quit 5 years ago

‘used to do sth’ can easily be confused with ‘to be used to doing sth’

I’m used to working long hours. I don’t mind starting work early and finishing late.

Hi Gromit

Amy and Ralf are right. However if you wish to sound a little prosaic “times ago” can be used. I have come across it before in novels. It is has a literary air to it. But I would not suggest using it.

cheers stew.t.