I am trying to understand the difference between before and in front of because these two words are used in a same sentence like. Ahmad is standing in front of me. Ahmad is standing before me.

For me, they look the same but I am not sure about it, and I don't have any lead to check it except to ask here. How do these two sentences differ from each other?


In English, the adjective always goes before the noun it modifies. In English, the adjective always goes in front of the noun it modifies.

Both are correct.

When talking about a place, though, they mean slightly different things:

The shop is before my house. (Implies that when walking along the road, the shop comes first, then my house.)

The shop is in front of my house. (Implies that the shop is located directly opposite the house.)

When talking about an action, before means time, where in front of always means place.


"In front" is direct and literal, referring to the relative position of the subject compared to the object.

"Before", on the other hand, is more flowery, descriptive language. If somebody is "standing before you" then they're probably in front of you, but they also might be in your presence but not directly in front of you.

As for leads, the dictionary is your friend. I find Wiktionary to be useful, but only because I can edit it when it's wrong; see in front and before. (The page for "in front" does have a small misleading section; number 5 is a colloquial contraction of the phrase "in the front" where "front" is a noun referring to the region of the car, though "in the front" is still a prepositional phrase.)

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    @Lambie You stand before the judge. The judge sits before the court, but also sits before the rest of the court sits. Don't sit before the judge sits or you might stand in contempt. Your counsel argues before the judge, but not necessarily before the same judge they have argued before before. (credit where it's due) – Andrew Apr 24 '18 at 20:28

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