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I'm not looking for an expression with the same meaning, I'm looking to understand the grammar necessary for this sentence.

Here is my weak attempt:

Il n'est pas aussi jeune maintenant qu'il était à cette époque.

I would also like to reverse it-- "He was younger then than he is now."

Il était plus jeune à cette époque qu'il est maintenant.

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I would translate it like that : "Il n'est plus aussi jeune qu'il était.". And your second sentence : "Il était plus jeune dans le temps." or "Il était plus jeune à l'époque". (I think it is already explicit that the it is referring to the present time.) – Sifu Jul 30 '14 at 14:00
dans le temps == "at the time" ? I thought it was ... I don't know, en ce temps or a/en ce moment. I also keep trying to use lors in here somewhere. – Aerovistae Jul 30 '14 at 14:22
I used "dans le temps" in a similar way I would of used "dans le passé" (in the past). – Sifu Jul 30 '14 at 14:25

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Il n'est plus aussi jeune qu'il ne l'était.

In this sentence ne … plus expresses “not anymore” (it's the most natural translation for the now), and aussi … que expresses “as … as”.

In the last part of the sentence, ne is a ne explétif (i.e. not a real negation) which is commonly found in comparison bases (this particular expletive ne is considered mandatory by most). And le stands for the previous attribution “jeune”.

The suggested “reverse” sentence lacks the above-mentioned ne and le, but sounds idiomatic otherwise: Il était plus jeune à cette époque qu'il ne l'est maintenant.

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Argh I under-utilise so badly. Need to start incorporating it into my French thoughts more. – Aerovistae Jul 30 '14 at 16:12
So, I remember that plus is pronounced without the s in a negative context like this-- but that's overridden by the need for a liaison here, right? – Aerovistae Jul 30 '14 at 16:13
Yes, a z-liaison is common here. – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 30 '14 at 16:25

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