Before As An Adverb In A Sentence

Updated Jun 19, 2023

Understanding the Versatility of "Before" as an adverb in a Sentence

When it comes to the English language, the word "before" is commonly known as a preposition or a conjunction. However, it is important to acknowledge that "before" can also function as an adverb in certain contexts. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which "before" can be used as an adverb and how it adds depth and specificity to our sentences.

1. Temporal Sense

One of the primary uses of "before" as an adverb is to indicate time. when used in this context, "before" provides information about an action or event that occurs earlier than another mentioned action or event. Let's consider a few examples:

  • She arrived before the meeting started.
  • He had already finished the race before I even started.

In both instances, "before" emphasizes the temporal relationship between two events, highlighting the sequence of their occurrences.

2. Comparative Sense

Another way in which "before" functions as an adverb is by expressing a comparative sense. It helps establish a degree or level of intensity that surpasses what is being compared. Let's look at a couple of examples:

  • I've never seen such a beautiful sunset before.
  • His latest performance was even more impressive than the one before.

In these sentences, "before" serves as an adverb that intensifies the comparison being made, emphasizing the extraordinary nature of the subject being discussed.

3. Placement and Usage Tips

It is essential to understand the correct placement and usage of "before" as an adverb to ensure clarity in our writing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • "Before" as an adverb often appears at the beginning or end of a sentence, immediately preceding or following the verb it modifies.
  • When used at the beginning of a sentence, "before" is typically set off by a comma.
  • "Before" can also be used in the mid-position of a sentence, especially when it modifies the verb directly.
  • It is essential to differentiate between "before" as an adverb and "before" as a preposition or a conjunction to ensure accurate usage.


While "before" is commonly recognized as a preposition or a conjunction, it is equally important to acknowledge its versatility as an adverb. Through its temporal and comparative senses, "before" adds depth and specificity to our sentences, helping us convey the sequence of events or emphasize the extraordinary. By understanding the correct placement and usage of "before," we can enhance our writing and communicate our ideas effectively.

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