Expressing "before" in general with "yiqian"
To talk about things that previously occurred, you can use the word 以前 (yǐqián). You can use this structure to talk about actions that happened at some unspecified time in the past. To make 以前 (yǐqián) easier to understand, it can be used similarly to the English word, "before."
One way to use 以前 (yǐqián) is to start the sentence with it. This is like starting off a sentence in English with "before..." or "in the past...."
以前，+ Subj. + Verb + Obj.
You can also move 以前 (yǐqián) to right after the subject, and it's also correct.
Subj. + 以前 + Verb + Obj.
- 以前 我 不 会 说 中文 。 Before, I could not speak Chinese.
- 你 以前 住 在 哪儿？ Before, where did you live?
- 以前 我 认识 他 。 Before, I didn't know him.
- 以前 不 喜欢 电影 。 Before, I didn't like movies.
- 以前 他 是 一 个 老师，现在 是 老板。 Before, he was a teacher.Now he is a boss.
- 他们 以前 没有 钱，可是 很 快乐。 Before, I didn't have any money.
- 我男朋友 以前 在 美国 工作，现在 在 中国 工作。 Before, I was very happy.
- 我们 以前 吃完晚饭 常常 聊天 。 Before, we often talked together.
- 她 以前 很 喜欢 笑 。 Before, she really liked laughing.
- 我 以前 很 爱 学习 。 Before, I really loved studying.
- In the future in general
- Before a specific time
- At the time when
- Before and after with "zhiqian" and "zhihou"