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back then: back is a verb



 
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back then: back is a verb #1 (permalink) Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:30 am   back then: back is a verb
 

I know that "back then" means "in those days/at that time" but what part of sentence
the phrase is?
I think that "back" here is a verb and "then" is an adverb. Is it correct?
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back then: back is a verb #2 (permalink) Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:23 am   back then: back is a verb
 

I don't see how back can be a verb in this context. I think that "then" is an adverb, as in "I knew her back then", it would be describing knew - when did you know her? In this case, "back" is an adverb describing then.
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back then: back is a verb #3 (permalink) Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:11 am   back then: back is a verb
 

Luschen'
"Most families, in the refugee camp, back then didn't/couldn't eat three meals a day."
Is this sentence using 'back then' correct?
To make it perfect, you can re-phrase it, please.
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back then: back is a verb #4 (permalink) Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:47 am   back then: back is a verb
 

I'd use 'at that time' instead of 'back then'.
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back then: back is a verb #5 (permalink) Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:45 am   back then: back is a verb
 

Hi Allifathima,

The trouble with this sentence is the position of the time expression ' -back then'
Quote:
Most families, in the refugee camp, back then didn't/couldn't eat three meals a day.

It needs to be more closely associated with the subject 'Most families'. I would remove the commas and put it at the beginning as:

Back then most families in the refugee camp didn't/couldn't eat three meals a day.

Alan
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back then: back is a verb #6 (permalink) Sun Apr 07, 2013 15:05 pm   back then: back is a verb
 

Thanks Luschen!
Quote:
I don't see how back can be a verb in this context. I think that "then" is an adverb, as in "I knew her back then", it would be describing knew - when did you know her? In this case, "back" is an adverb describing then.

I thought about this but it seems to me that "back" and "then" here have the same meaning and therefore I tend to think that "back" is redundant here.
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back then: back is a verb #7 (permalink) Sun Apr 07, 2013 18:27 pm   back then: back is a verb
 

Screen wrote:
I thought about this but it seems to me that "back" and "then" here have the same meaning and therefore I tend to think that "back" is redundant here.
"back then" is pretty much a set expression, and, compared to "then", more strongly conveys the idea of habitual activities or occurrences in a past era and the implication that things are different now. The expression has a somewhat chatty or folksy feel.
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back then: back is a verb #8 (permalink) Sun Apr 07, 2013 19:01 pm   back then: back is a verb
 

Screen wrote:
I tend to think that "back" is redundant here.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Screen:

I do not think that "redundant" is the word that we are looking for.

a. "Mona is a female girl." I think that "female" is redundant.

In "back then," it seems that "back" is an adverb that simply emphasizes the adverb "then." Consider:

1. When I was in elementary school in the 1940's, there was no television back then.

2. When I was in elementary school in the 1940's, there was no television then.

3. When I was in elementary school in the 1940's, there was no television back.

I guess that we can agree that No. 3 is NOT acceptable.

James

P.S. You can tell that I actually did go to elementary school in the 1940's because I still feel more comfortable writing "1940's" instead of "1940s"!
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back then: back is a verb #9 (permalink) Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:29 am   back then: back is a verb
 

"Most families, in the refugee camp, back then didn't/couldn't eat three meals a day."

The commas in that sentence obscure the meaning. It sounds like families now in the refugee camps were unable to eat 3 squares back then. Is your point that they are in the refugee camps as a result of malnutrition?

How about recasting the sentence as

Back then in the refugee camps, most families didn't/couldn't eat three square meals a day.
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