10 Better Ways To Say “Then-Current”

“Then-current” is a strange word that many people will use in spoken English. However, there are a few problems when using it in written English that we need to go over. This article will explore some better ways of using it to avoid any problems.

What Can I Say Instead Of “Then-Current”?

Some of these words might be better suited to you, so take your pick:

  • Prevailing
  • At the time
  • Back then
  • Years ago
  • Once
  • Previous
  • Previously
  • Recent
  • Recently
  • Concurrent
Better Ways To Say “Then-Current”

The preferred version is “prevailing.” It’s the most suitable one-word synonym we can use to replace “then-current.” It implies that same meaning, and many native speakers know what to expect when they see it written down, which is why it’s helpful.


“Prevailing” is a great way to show that something used to be a certain way but no longer is. It shows that something was once a “current” situation or idea, but now we can use “then” to show that it’s no longer the way.

The definition of “prevailing,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “existing in a particular place or at a particular time.”

  • The prevailing evidence of the case was recently disproved, which has thrown a serious spanner in the works.
  • Those prevailing symptoms no longer exist, so you should be as good as gold by first thing tomorrow.
  • My prevailing issues with the company aren’t there anymore. They made it up to me.

At The Time

“At the time” is a phrase we can use in the same manner as “prevailing.” It works well because it allows us to show how things used to be, even if they are no longer the same today.

It can work both formally and informally, which is why it’s such a useful phrase for us in these cases.

  • At the time, there weren’t many people who could offer help. That’s why they hired me for the job role.
  • I think I noticed his corruption at the time, so I reported him to head office. They made short work of the situation.
  • You needed to be there at the time to see how different things used to be for us! It was a nightmare!

Back Then

“Back then” is a reminiscing phrase we can use to show how things were in the past. It works well to show that something might be different now compared to how it was, but those changes are usually for good.

Of course, some people use “back then” to think back to good memories, so they might be implying that their current lives are worse than their previous ones.

  • I knew a lot more about IT back then, but I have since stopped caring to update my knowledge of these systems.
  • The errors I came across back then have been fixed, which has helped to streamline most of this company’s databases.
  • I think that I was much braver back then. That’s why I did so many things that I wouldn’t be able to do today.

Years Ago

“Years ago” is another phrase we might be able to use to show how things have changed. This one is slightly more informal than some of the others, so it’s not often that you’ll see it in more formal or professional situations.

  • Years ago, there was someone in the office that did all of this manually. Now, it’s all automated.
  • Years ago, I knew how to do this, but I have since lost my memory of such things, which is a shame.
  • Years ago, I couldn’t fathom why this would have been smart to do. Now, I can’t get enough of the program!


“Once” is an adverb we can use to show that something happened in the past but no longer happens. It’s a way to allow us to think back to when that thing happened, but also to think about how far we’ve come since it no longer has to be that way.

The definition of “once,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “in the past, but not now.”

  • The documents all stated falsehoods once, but we’ve managed to correct all the problematic ones that caused people harm.
  • I once saw that there were things wrong with this place, but I’ve managed to plug the holes when they arose.
  • I have seen your lies once. I think it’s time that you resign and admit to what you’ve done.


“Previous” is a great word we can use to show that something used to be current or happening in the past. However, now that time has gone on, there is no need for things to happen in the same way, and times have moved on.

The definition of “previous,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “happening or existing before something or someone else.”

  • The previous data points were all wrong, so we’ve done a massive overhaul to try and get them sorted.
  • My previous partner did not want to go out very often, which I found very peculiar considering we met at a bar.
  • I think your previous answers were wrong, so I’m glad you changed them when you got the chance.


“Previously” is an adverbial extension to the previous section. We can use it to show that something happened in the past but is no longer happening now. The “-ly” adverbial suffix is just another way we can phrase the word.

  • Previously, there were a few practices that we did not agree with, but they have since changed.
  • Previously, someone had gotten into our files without our knowledge. Luckily, we’ve updated our security since then.
  • Previously, there were times when I worried about what might happen next, but I need not fear that now!


“Recent” works well to show that something used to be current but no longer is. “Recent” implies that something was a certain way a short time ago, whereas a lot of the other words in this list refer to times much further away.

The definition of “recent,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “happening or starting from a short time ago.”

  • The recent information was finally updated to something that was more realistic. Now nobody is complaining.
  • We have plenty of recent files on him, but they all seem to be outdated now, based on what he can achieve.
  • These recent issues have been cleared up. You need not worry about them anymore, sir.


“Recently” is another adverbial form that comes from the previous word. We can use it to show how things used to be but no longer are. Typically, “recent” implies that something was the same way up until a very recent point in history.

  • Recently, the numbers that have been entered into the stock report are all skewed, but no one will admit any fault.
  • I don’t think that we have the correct statistics. Recently, something has been going wrong with everything.
  • Recently, there are many things I have noticed that have changed in this office, which I think is for the best.


“Concurrent” isn’t the best word in this list, but it still works well when you want to show that something was once the case but no longer matters. It’s a great way to show that things happened in one way, but we can’t expect them to happen like that now.

The definition of “concurrent,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “happening or existing at the same time.”

  • The concurrent evidence of the time was all they had to go on, which is why so much went wrong.
  • We didn’t have the concurrent information that we have today, I’m afraid.
  • There wasn’t anything concurrent that they knew back then that could have helped them!

What Does “Then-Current” Mean?

“Then-current” means that something was current at a previous point in time. However, now that we are talking about the past, it is no longer a “current” thing, which is why we use “then” to describe it.

It might help if you saw a couple of examples. That way, you might be a bit more familiar with it:

  • The then-current standings of the table have drastically improved since we worked closely with this company.
  • I have seen the statistics that showed the then-current problems associated with the patients.
  • My then-current boyfriend didn’t want anything to do with my child, which was one of the reasons I thought it was best if we stopped talking!

Should “Then-Current” Be Hyphenated?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “then-current” does not need to be hyphenated. While the hyphen variation is still used in the graph, it’s not quite as popular as the unhyphenated variation, which shows that it might not always be necessary.

We usually only hyphenate words when they are used as adjectives. Since “then-current” isn’t an adjective, it typically doesn’t require the same hyphen treatment that you might expect.

While there is nothing wrong with using a hyphen for “then-current,” you can also write it as “then current.” Both forms are recognized, but they are also both more informal (which is why it’s mostly used in spoken English rather than in writing).