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Before and after with "zhiqian" and "zhihou"

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Before and after can be expressed using 之前 (zhīqián) and 之后 (zhīhòu). They are in relatively the same vein as 以前/以后, except that these two are adverbs, while 之前/之后 are prepositions. Don't forget that these two are talking about before and after in terms of time.

Used as a Preposition

Structure

Event + 之前 / 之后 ,⋯⋯

Examples

  • 来 中国 之前 ,我 的 汉语 很 一般 。Lái Zhōngguó zhīqián, wǒ de Hànyǔ yībān.Before I came to China, my Chinese was so so.
  • 下班 之后 给 我 打 个 电话 。Xiàbān zhīhòu gěi wǒ dǎ gè diànhuà.Give me a call after you get off work.
  • 吃 完 饭 之后 去 看 电影 吧 ?Chī wán fàn zhīhòu qù diànyǐng ba?What about going to the movies after we finish dinner?
  • 出国 之前 ,他 和 女朋友 分手了 。Chūguó zhīqián, tā hé nǚpéngyou fēnshǒu le.Before he went abroad, he broke up with his girlfriend.
  • 她 每天 放学 之后 都 要 去 上 钢琴 课 。Tā měi tiān fàngxué zhīhòu dōu yào qù shàng gāngqín kè.She needs to go to piano class every day after school.

Used as a Time Word

Structure

⋯⋯ ,之前 / 之后 ⋯⋯

Examples

  • 他 在 英国 读 完 了 大学 ,之后 回 上海 了 。Tā zài Yīngguó dú wán le dàxué, zhīhòu huí Shànghǎi le.He finished college in England. Afterwards, he returned to Shanghai.
  • 她 当 汉语 老师 四 年 多 了 ,之前 是 教 英语 的 。Tā dāng Hànyǔ lǎoshī sì nián duō le, zhīqián shì jiāo Yīngyǔ de.She's been a Chinese teacher for more than four years. She used to be an English teacher.
  • 老板 刚刚 回来 工作 ,之前 在 休假 。Lǎobǎn gānggāng huílái gōngzuò, zhīqián zài xiūjià.The boss just came back to work. He was on vacation before.
  • 我们 都 不知道 ,他 之前 什么 也 没 说 。Wǒmen dōu bù zhīdào, tā zhīqián shénme yě méi shuō.None of us know. He didn't say anything before.
  • 我 现在 去 吃饭 ,之后 去 见 客户 。Wǒ xiànzài qù chīfàn, zhīhòu qù jiàn kèhù.I'm going to eat now. After that I will go to meet a client.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books