"Before" in general
|Is similar to|
|Is used for||Expressing time and date, Sequencing events in time, Referring to the past|
Using "before" in Chinese is very simple.
To talk about things in the past "in general", you can use the word 以前 (yǐqián).
以前 + Subject + Verb + Object
Subject + 以前 + Verb + Object
You can use this structure to talk about actions that happened at some unspecified time in the past.
- 以前我 不 会 说中文。Before, I could not speak Chinese.
- 我 以前 不 喝 啤酒。I didn't drink beer before.
- 以前 我 不 喜欢 电影。Before, I didn't like movies.
- 我 以前 很 喜欢 吃 面条。I liked to eat noodles before.
- 以前 我 住 在 上海。Before, I lived in Shanghai.
- 我 以前 去 过 纽约。I went to New York before.
- 以前 我 是 一 个 老师。Before, I was a teacher.
- 我 以前 没 在 医院 工作。I didn't work at the hospital before.
- 以前 我 想 做 一 个 生意 人。Before, I wanted to be a "business man".
- 我 以前 总是 喜欢 哭。Before, I always liked to cry.
- In the future in general
- Before a specific time
- At the time when
- Before and after with "zhiqian" and "zhihou"
Sources and further reading
- Boya Chinese Elementary Starter 2 (博雅汉语初经起步篇) (pp. 11) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 268) →buy