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Before and After

Before and After

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Requirements

Before, After

 

Hello! In this lesson we will learn two very useful prepositions which are generally used with time phrases.  In previous lessons we have learned the prepositions "in, on, over, under, beside, to," and "from".  All can be used in concrete and abstract ways, and the prepositions "before" and "after" are no exceptions to this pattern.
We can join time clauses with these helpful prepositions. For example, we can join two past tense sentences in this way: "Before Jennifer started the car, she closed the car door." or "Jennifer started the car after she closed the car door.".  We can join two present tense clauses in this way: "Jennifer cleans the table before she puts the placemats on it." or "Jennifer puts placemats on the table after she cleans it.".  We can put two future time clauses together in this way: "David will put the forks on the table before he eats." or "David will eat after he puts the forks on the table." Notice that when we discuss future time, we use the explicit future time for the first clause and the simple present tense for the second clause. The future time is implied in the second clause.  We can also put progressive clauses together to discuss future time, like this: "David is playing football before he eats." or "David is eating after he plays football.". Note that the first clause is in the present progressive tense, and the second clause is in the simple present tense. Future time is implied.
The prepositions "before" and "after" are also used with specific time phrases.  For example, "David worked before dinner." or David will eat after work." or"Jennifer will come home after 6:00.".
Now that you have an understanding of the use of the prepositions "before" and "after", listen to this dialog. David and Jennifer are making plans for the evening.

Jennifer:  When will Mr. and Mrs. Smith be here?
David: They are coming after 6:00.
Jennifer: Are we going to eat here?
David: No, we will go to a restaurant after they get here.
Jennifer: What are we doing after we eat?
David: We can ask Mr. and Mrs. Smith before we decide.

Now that you have heard the prepositions, let us take a look at the sentences in the dialog.
After Jennifer asks "When will Mr. and Mrs. Smith be here?", David responds "They are coming after 6:00.". Notice that we use the preposition "after" with the specific time "6:00". Another possible answer could have been "They are coming before 6:00.", becausethe two prepositions are used similarly.
After Jennifer asks "Are we going to eat here?", David responds  "No, we will go to a restaurant after they get here.". Notice that in this case, the first clause is in the future, and the second clause is in the simple present tense, implying the future.
Jennifer next asks "What are we doing after we eat?".Notice that the present progressive tense is used in the first clause and it refers to the near future. The second clause is in the simple present tense. Because it follows the present progressive tense with reference to the future, the simple present tense implies the future.
David answers "We can ask Mr. and Mrs. Smith before we decide.". David might have answered "We will decide after we ask Mr. and Mrs. Smith.". Both expressions mean that, first David and Jennifer will talk to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and then they will decide what they will do after dinner.
Now that you understand the prepositions "before" and "after" and how to use them, listen to the dialog once again. Pay attention to their usage in time clauses and with a specific time.

Jennifer:  When will Mr. and Mrs. Smith be here?
David: They are coming after 6:00.
Jennifer: Are we going to eat here?
David: No, we will go to a restaurant after they get here.
Jennifer: What are we doing after we eat?
David: We can ask Mr. and Mrs. Smith before we decide.

Wonderful! You are now able to make sophisticated time transitions and connect clauses using the prepositions "before" and "after". You are able to fine-tune your comments about time, narrowing the times down to specific times. Rehearse these prepositions, and use them in your discussions of your own activities and the activities of others. Use them to plan for events and explain when events will take place.