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date back (usage) ago

English translation: It is grammatical, but I prefer your suggestion.

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20:35 Oct 18, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Linguistics
English term or phrase: date back (usage) ago
Proofreading

Majidzadeh noted that the oldest Elamite handwriting is known as ÔElami-MoqadamÕ and dates back to 3000 years ago.

Is this expression grammatical? Shouldn't it be DATE BACK TO + STARTING POINT (and without AGO)

My suggestion
Dates back to 1000 BC.


Many thanks in advance.
Lakasa Stnorden
Local time: 06:43
English translation:It is grammatical, but I prefer your suggestion.
Explanation:
Or you could say "dates back 3,000 years".
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:43
Grading comment
many thanks to all of you!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +8It is grammatical, but I prefer your suggestion.
Jack Doughty
4 +4It's OK as is
Tony M
4 +2it's OK as it is
Shera Lyn Parpia


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
It is grammatical, but I prefer your suggestion.


Explanation:
Or you could say "dates back 3,000 years".

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 197
Grading comment
many thanks to all of you!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  William [Bill] Gray
1 min
  -> Thank you.

agree  Mark Berelekhis: I'd use "dates back 3,000 years"
12 mins
  -> Thank you. I think I would too.

agree  Robert Forstag: "dates back 3000 years"
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Refugio: dates back 3000 years
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Alexander Demyanov
4 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  orientalhorizon
4 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Valery Kaminski
8 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Patricia Townshend
9 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
it's OK as it is


Explanation:
you can use ago in this context

It dates back to 3000 years ago , or to 1000 BC or whatever.

Shera Lyn Parpia
Italy
Local time: 11:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: I think it's often more helpful for the reader to say "3,000 years ago", to give them an immediate and graphic perspective on it. And of course, as we are talking about ancient handwriting, 'BC' might not really be appropriate, in these days of PC!
6 mins
  -> true! thanks.

agree  orientalhorizon
4 hrs
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18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
date back ... ago (usage)
It's OK as is


Explanation:
i feel that expressing it as "3,000 years ago" is more helpful for giving the reader a real feeling for the timescale.

In addition, I would not endorse the use of 'BC' in this sort of context — it sounds as if we might be talking about ancient Middle-Eastern script here, and if so, the readership might not necessarily be of the Christian faith, and the term 'Before Christ' might be meaningless, inappropriate, or worse, actually offensive. In today's multi-cultural world, I think there is a case to be made for revisiting such expressions, particularly for use in contexts that might be sensitive.

I have seen attempts to get round the issue by using 'before the start of the modern era' etc., but they all feel hopelessly clumsy and uncomfortable. I hope someone will come up with a workable alternative — though at the same time, I suppose we have to accept that the way we refer to dates in quite a large part of the world is based on the Christian calendar anyway. Oh well...!

Tony M
France
Local time: 11:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio
52 mins
  -> Thanks, Ruth!

agree  orientalhorizon
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, O/H!

agree  Sheila Wilson: I couldn't agree more - BC could actually be offensive
9 hrs
  -> Thanks, Sheila! I'm glad I'm not the only one to have that sensibility.

agree  kmtext
10 hrs
  -> Thanks, KMT!
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