what is the difference between "à ce temps-là" and "en ce temps-là"
Only "en ce temps-là" is correct.
OK, so could you please advise me when to use "En ce temps-là, as against "À ce moment-là" where "En" and "À" each mean the same in English, i.e. "At....."
"À ce moment-là" = at that very moment/instant/time
"En ce temps-là" = in those days/back then
Thanks Sitesurf - understood.
I'm confused why the past conditional wasn't accepted here: En ce temps-là, nous achèterions souvent des choses inutiles
This isn't conditional because it is reporting a habitual past action. "Would ... buy" is used in the sense of "used to buy".
"achèterions" is not the past conditional, it's the present conditional. "achètions" is the past imperfect.
Couldn't "time" mean "time of day," e.g., lunch time? In that case, you would use "heure."
It seems a little unlikely to mean a time of day in the context of the sentence...we often used to buy useless things at that time of day..??
How does 'la' fit in here before 'nous'?
It is not related to nous at all.. en ce temps-là an idiomatic phrase that means at that time refers to a period of time in the past.
This keeps getting harder and harder, I like it!!
The "souvent" can't come before the verb? Other Romantic Languages accept that.
No adverb can be inserted between the subject and its verb.
I wrote "À ce moment là, on achetait souvent des choses inutiles" and was not accepted
You forgot the required hyphen: À ce moment-là.
Why was a ce moment-la not accepted?
Why is la used? What is the grammer rule?
"-là" tells you that it is "at that time" and not "at this time".