When comparing two dates, what term is best used to say that one should come before the other?
For example, a user of my application can input two dates, that form a time interval. Obviously the "start date" has to be a valid date that comes before the "end date", so when the user enters these wrong I show him an error message. But, since English is not my native language, I don't know that comparison term to use.
Can a date be said to be "smaller" than another date? Or should I use something like "anterior", or "earlier"?