1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Using 'Antes'

Adverb Frequently Means 'Earlier' or 'Before'

By

Blue brain

Piensa antes de hablar. (Think before speaking.)

Photo by El Colleccionista de Instantes; licensed via Creative Commons.

Antes is a common adverb used to indicate that something happens earlier or before something else.

In its simplest usage, antes can stand alone to mean "earlier":

  • ¿Cómo no lo vi antes? How did I not see it earlier/before?
  • Yo quiero llegar antes también. I also want to arrive earlier.
  • No sé si comieron antes o no. I don't know if they ate earlier or not.

Antes can sometimes be translated as "first":

  • Antes voy a celebrar. First I am going to celebrate.
  • Busco enamorarme pero antes quiero encontrar a la persona ideal. I am looking to fall in love, but first I want to find the perfect person.

Perhaps the most common use of antes is in the phrase antes de followed by a noun or an infinitive functioning as a noun:

  • Piensa antes de hablar. Think before speaking.
  • Es ilegal a ponerse afuera la basura antes de la mañana del día de colección. It is illegal to put the garbage outside before the morning of collection day.
  • El mundo era mejor antes del teléfono celular. The world was better before the cell phone.
  • Los que vinieron antes de mí eran muy inteligentes. Those who came before me were very intelligent.
  • Sabemos que quiere ver muestras de nuestros productos antes de comprar. We know you want to see samples of our products before buying.

A common variation of this is the phrase antes de que, which is typically followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood. The phrase is sometimes shortened to antes que:

  • El plomo puede hacerle daño a su bebé antes de que nazca. Lead can hurt your baby before she is born.
  • Tenemos que estar preparados antes de que nieve. We need to be prepared before it snows.
  • ¿Tenían conocimiento los chinos de la existencia de América antes de que Colón la descubriese? Did the Chinese know about the existence of America before Columbus discovered it?
  • Tu misión es apagar el fuego antes que llegue a la ciudad. Your mission is to put out the fire before it reaches the city.

Antes also is used in a few set phrases:

  • antes bien (to express a contrast with what has been said) — No nos hacemos mejores cuando ocultamos nuestros defectos; antes bien, nuestro valor moral aumenta con la sinceridad. We don't improve ourselves when we hide our defects; on the contrary, our moral value grows with sincerity.
  • antes lo posible (as soon as possible) — Lo ideal es que este sistema se implemente lo antes lo posible. The ideal is that this system be implemented as soon as possible.
  • de antes (in the past) — Los muchachos de antes no usaban gomina. Boys in times past didn't use hair gel.
Related Video
How to Make Spanish Romesco Sauce
Black Currant and Balsamic Gastrique

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.