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Do the following sentences have the same meaning?

a. The economic situation is better than before.
b. The economic situation is better than it used to be.
c. The economic situation is better than it has been before.

I learned the word "before" is used in present perfect, not in past tense because it refers to the time span from a certain point in the past to now. Is it OK to use "before" in past simple? Can we say "The economic situation is better than it used to be before"?

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Yes, those three sentences have roughly the same meaning.

Of course you can use before with other tenses. Here are a few more examples:

I've been there before. (present perfect)

I had never been there before. (past perfect)

Their products are now worse than ever before. (present simple)

Thier products were now better than they were ever before. (past simple)

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    (c) needs the addition of ever to make it idiomatic English - better than it has ever been before - though this would usually be expressed as better than ever before. Apr 13 at 12:56
  • Sentence "a" does leave the reader wondering "better than before what! - the outbreak of war?" Apr 13 at 18:56
  • Does that mean you interpret "before" as a conjunction or preposition, not as an adverb, which means the past time in general? Apr 13 at 23:30

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