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BEFORE most commonly means at or during a time earlier than (the thing mentioned). It is often used with noun phrases to refer to timed events.

"I like to go for a run before breakfast."

If you have to do something before a certain point in time, then when that point arrives, the action must already be completed.

"I need to have the report before Friday." (Friday is too late)

When one thing precedes another, it comes before. You put your socks on before your shoes, you close the door before you lock it, and you should make sure the store is open before you leave home.

"Before we make a decision, does anyone want to say anything else?"

Before tells when something happens — don't hire that guy before you check his references — or the position of something: the library is the last building before the intersection.

"I feel as though I've been here before."

In 'before and after' pictures, the 'before' ones were taken prior to the makeover, renovation, and so on, while the 'after' photos show the improvement.

"Things got worse before they got better."

Before can be used as a preposition, an adverb or a conjunction. As a preposition it is often used to refer to place, esp. when it is seen as part of a journey or as part of a sequence of events in time.

"Get off the bus just before Euston Station."
"Let's go for a walk before noon."

If you tell someone that one place is a certain distance before another, you mean that they will come to the first place first.

"The turn is about two kilometres before the roundabout."

If you have something such as a journey, a task, or a stage of your life before you, you must do it, face it or live through it in the future.

"Everyone in the room knew it was the hardest task before them."

If you appear or come before an official person or group, you go there and answer questions.

"The Governor will appear before the committee next Tuesday."

If something happens before a particular person or group, it is seen by or happens while this person or this group is present.

"The game followed an opening ceremony before a crowd of seventy-four thousand."

When you want to say that one person or thing is more important than another, you can say that they come before the other person or thing.

"Life is still a juggling act, but my children come before anything else."

Note that a non-finite clause with before + ing form is more formal.

"Before bringing the milk to the boil, add the egg." (more formal than 'Before you bring …)

As an adverb it often means 'in time preceding; previously; at any time before now' and often comes after nouns such as day/week/month, etc.

"Two people were ill at work yesterday and three people the day before!"

As a subordinating conjunction 'before' is commonly used with past simple. It suggests that the second event happened soon after the first one.

"Before she left, she gave everyone a present."
"She gave everyone a present before she left."

If you do something before someone else can do something, you do it when they have not yet done it.

"Before he could take another one, she laid her fingertips on his mouth."

If there is a period of time or if several things are done before something happens, it takes that amount of time or effort for this thing to happen.

"It was some time before the door opened in response to his ring."

If a particular situation has to happen before something else happens, this situation must happen or exist in order for the other thing to happen.

"There was additional work to be done before all the troops would be ready."

When we use 'before' in clauses in the present tense, the clause can refer to the future.

"Before I go to work, I jog for at least an hour."

In clauses with 'before', perfect tenses are often used to emphasize the idea
of completion.

"You can't watch TV before you have finished your homework."
"He lost his temper before I had said a word."

As an adjunct it is used to connect earlier events to the moment of speaking or to a point of time in the past.

"I'm so looking forward to the trip. I haven't been to the US before." (up to the moment of speaking)

If someone has done something before, they have done it on a previous occasion. If someone has not done something before, they have never done it.

"I've been here before."
"She had never been to Italy before."

We sometimes use before clauses in a variety of tenses to say that the action or event in the before clause did not or may not happen.

"Before I had a chance to thank him, he'd gone."
"We should stop shopping now before we spend all our money."

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