- earlier than something
- earlier than a particular time, event, or action
The others had got there before us.
I joined the police in 1999. Before that I was in the army.
Two weeks before the election the first reports of the scandalbegan to appear.before doing something:
You should seeklegaladvice before signing anything...
- at a time in the past
One to ten spelling in english worksheets. Never before in modernhistory has one nationdominated the world so completely...
- used for saying how much time passes until something happens
Several years went by before I realized that David had lied to me...
- used for saying that something happens which prevents someone from doing what they intended
- spokenused for warning someone that something bad may happenunless they do something
You’d better go away before I lose my temper...
- for someone to consider or watch
- formalused for saying that something or someone is judged or considered by a group of people
The case went before a grandjury on December 17th.
The question before us is whether we should allow a foreigngovernment to control our commerce.
- formalused for saying that something is happening where people can watch it
The teamscored an impressivevictory before 76,000 fans at ArrowheadStadium.
- in front of or earlier than someone/something
- if one place is before another place on your journey, you come to it first
A few miles before the border we were stopped at an armycheckpoint.
Our house is just before you get to the end of the road...
- formalin front of someone or something
Before the templegatestood a bronzestatue of Buddha...
- used for saying that something is placedearlier than something else in a list or series
The names are in alphabeticalorder, so ‘Barnes’ should come before ‘Brown’.
- formalused when saying what will happen in someone’s future
You’re still young – you have your whole life before you...
- By definition, near to or next to: a home by a lake.
- Can you identify the correct preposition? Prepositions in the English language are expected to follow a noun or a subject for a sentence to be considered correct. Well, in your English classes you have learned how and when to use prepositions, and the quiz below is perfect for testing how much of that you understood. Give it a try and get some practice too.
This is the British English definition of before.View American English definition of before.
Once again, for the third time, the LORD called to Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you have called me.” Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy. King James Bible And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me.
- Prepositions indicate relationships between other words in a sentence.
- Many prepositions tell you where something is or when something happened.
- Most prepositions have several definitions, so the meaning changes quite a bit in different contexts.
- Ending a sentence with a preposition is not a grammatical error.
What Is a Preposition?
“Vampires! Zombies! Werewolves!”
Thank goodness for prepositions. Imagine not knowing where the danger lay….
Prepositions tell us where or when something is in relation to something else. When monsters are approaching, it’s good to have these special words to tell us where those monsters are. Are they behind us or in front of us? Will they be arriving in three seconds or at midnight?
Prepositions often tell us where one noun is in relation to another (e.g., The coffee is on the table beside you). But they can also indicate more abstract ideas, such as purpose or contrast (e.g., We went for a walk despite the rain).
Types of Prepositions
Prepositions indicate direction, time, location, and spatial relationships, as well as other abstract types of relationships.
Direction: Look to the left and you’ll see our destination.
Time: We’ve been working since this morning.
Location: We saw a movie at the theater.
Space: The dog hid under the table.
Unfortunately, there’s no reliable formula for determining which preposition to use with a particular combination of words. The best way to learn which prepositions go with which words is to read as much high-quality writing as you can and pay attention to which combinations sound right. Here are a few examples of the most common prepositions used in sentences.
You can also use tools like Google Ngrams to see which prepositions most commonly occur with particular words—but remember, this tool can’t explain the difference in meaning between different prepositional phrases like “pay for” (to purchase) and “pay off” (to bribe). For that, you may want to refer to a list of prepositions that includes the meanings of common combinations.
Ending a Sentence With a Preposition
The old claim thatit’s wrong to end a sentence with a preposition has been utterly debunked. It’s not true and it never was true. Writers who always insist that a preposition can’t end a sentence often end up with stilted and unnatural sentences:
That said, it is sometimes more elegant to move a preposition to an earlier spot in a sentence, especially in very serious and formal writing. But if you do move the preposition, remember to delete it from the end.
One of the most common preposition mistakes is adding an unnecessary at to the end of a question.
Although this is common in some English dialects, it’s considered an error in writing. You can fix the problem by simply deleting the at.
On the bright side, if you’re not sure which preposition to use, sometimes you can just get rid of it altogether. In fact, you should always get rid of unnecessary prepositional phrases. Too many prepositions can be a sign of flabby writing. Look at how many prepositions appear in the sentence below:
Getting rid of the prepositions forces you to tighten up the sentence. The result is shorter, more direct, and easier to understand:
Here’s another example:
Get rid of the up. You don’t need it: