As I read books and posts on G+, I am confused from using of some adverbs of place and time.

And why? Because some ones I have paired with time (for example before) are used as adverb of place.

For example

The Church of Our Lady Before Týn

But in my opinion it should be

The Church of Our Lady in the front of Týn

because Týn is a place and the church stands near this place — and really it stands in front of it, in the direction of the Old town square (Staroměstské náměstí).

So, what are the rules for using of before? Is the first translation correct?

  • 2
    Before actually has a secondary meaning: "in front of." which isn't related to time. So your two sentences are semantically identical. Mar 23, 2016 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


In modern English, before most often means “earlier in time”. But it can also have other meanings, mostly (but not exclusively) in formal or old-fashioned language. Even learners' dictionaries such as Cambridge and Merriam-Webster list them. One of these meanings is the spatial meaning “in front of”. Given that the church is an old and respected building, it makes sense to use a formal and slightly old-fashioned way of naming it.

The original Czech uses the preposition před. I don't know Czech so I don't know what nuances this has but I do see that Czech Wiktionary lists “before, in front of” for one of the meanings of that preposition.

It's a common trait of many languages, including English, Czech and Latin¹, to have a preposition meaning both “earlier in time” and “nearer to me in space”.

By the way, before is a preposition, here. The same word can also be used as an adverb; when it's an adverb, the meanings other than “earlier in time” are rare.

¹ ante, found as a prefix in some English words, with either a time meaning (antedate, antecedent) or a space meaning (antechamber, anterior).

  • Yes, you are right that Czech word před has multiple nuances - that it may mean before in time like place. Exact meaning is given by words following in sentence, mostly defining if it is place or time.
    – Václav
    Mar 23, 2016 at 16:46

This seems to be the established translation.

"Before" can relate to a place too. For example, "stand before the Lord", "appear before the court".

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