I see a lot of errors with “ago” and “earlier.” It can be tricky to explain the difference, but I will do my best.

Use “ago” to refer to a point relative to the present. For instance, I can say:

“I met my wife four years ago.”

That means I met my wife four years before the present time (now).

Or I can say:

“Simon was born in Chicago twenty-five years ago.”

That means Simon was born in Chicago twenty-five years before the present time (now).

Don’t use “earlier” to talk about a point relative to the present.

Use “earlier” to talk about something that happened relative to a particular time in the past. For instance I can say:

“I met my wife in 1982. Four years earlier, I had been dating Suzy.”

That means I dated Suzy four years before 1982.

Do you get what I mean? Here’s another:

“Simon was born in Chicago twenty-five years ago. His parents had moved there four years earlier.”

That means Simon’s parents moved there four years before Simon was born.

Honestly, I am not sure if it is better to use the past perfect tense of the simple past tense for the “earlier” parts. The past perfect tense sounds a bit clunky in the second example, but that’s just my opinion.

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