Using ‘Before’ and ‘After’ in Spanish Grammar
Have you ever been caught in the confusion between “before” and “after” in Spanish?
I’m here to help! I like to uncomplicate something that seems complicated and overwhelming. You’ll see that it’s easy and fun once you understand the different usages and practice examples in Spanish. So make sure you practice after reading this blog post and leave a comment with any questions you might have.
The expressions of time that explain the location of events on a timeline include several variations of “before” and “after” in Spanish. The most basic root of these words are antes and después, respectively.
As we’ll see, these small yet mighty time words can be used as adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and more.
By learning to master time expressions and words, you will not only improve your ability to understand Spanish explanations of time-related events, but also you’ll be able to explain them to others!
In fact, you could become a pro at telling the best stories in Spanish once you’ve conquered the use of time expressions.
Are you ready to learn more?
Adverbs for “Before” and “After” in Spanish
Before in Spanish
Adverbs act as modifiers of verbs that change or enhance the base meaning of the verb or any verb phrase. The Spanish adverb antes means “before,” “earlier,” and “soon.”
Me lo podrías haber dicho antes.
You could have told it to me before.
Hoy podré reunirme contigo un poco antes.
I’ll be able to meet you earlier today.
Quiero tener vacaciones cuanto antes posible.
I want to have a vacation as soon as possible.
After in Spanish
The Spanish adverb después means “after,” “later,” and “afterward.”
Contacté a mi mama justo después de comprometerme.
I contacted my mom just after I got engaged.
Iré al mercado después porque ahora tengo que estudiar español.
I will go to the market later because I have to study Spanish now.
¿Podemos ir al cine después? Necesito comer primero.
Can we go to the movie afterwards? I need to eat first.
Prepositions for “Before” and “After” in Spanish
Prepositions connect nouns and pronouns to other words in a sentence. Here are the different useful prepositional phrases you can use to express the idea of “before” and “after” in Spanish.
1. ante + sustantivo = in front of
This is when you must present yourself in front of someone.
Me tengo que presentar ante un juez.
I have to present myself in front of a judge.
2. antes de + sustantivo = before, preceding in time
This is used when you want to say that you need to do something before an event or person.
Podemos hablar antes de la conferencia.
We can talk before the conference.
3. antes que + sustantivo = in importance
This is used when something or someone is more important than anything else.
Tengo que usar el baño antes que Lucía porque no puedo esperar más.
I have to use the restroom before Lucía because I cannot wait.
4. después de + verbo = after
This is used when you want to say how an experience left you feeling afterwards.
Después de ir a París, nada me parece tan hermoso.
After going to Paris, nothing seems as beautiful.
PRO TIP! Let’s talk about the del contraction.
When you are using a prepositional phrase such as antes de + noun and your noun is masculine— as in, el juez (the judge), you do not say antes de el juez, but instead you combine de + el and say:
Antes del juez
Conjunctions for “Before” and “After” in Spanish
Variations of “before” and “after” in Spanish can also be conjunctions, which work to connect sentences, clauses, words and phrases. Las conjunciones join two coordinating parts of a sentence together.
1. antes de que + verbo = before, prior to
This phrase requires the usage of the subjunctive tense, as in antes de que te vayas (where te vayas is the subjunctive conjugation of irte)
Recuérdame que te dé la receta antes de que te vayas.
Remind me to give you the recipe before you leave.
2. antes de + infinitivo = before (verb)-ing
In Spanish, unlike in English, an infinitive verb follows antes de or después de (see next point) and not a gerund.
Recemos antes de cenar.
Let’s say grace before having dinner.
3. después de + infinitivo = after (verb)-ing
This is used to express how you can do one thing after another.
Puedo salir a comer después de estudiar.
I can go out to eat after studying.
Useful Synonyms for “Before” and “After” in Spanish
Many different synonyms exist to say “before” and “after” in Spanish. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones that you can add to your conversations:
- Delante de = in front of
- Anteriormente = previously
- Antiguamente = in the past
- Precedentemente = earlier
- Primeramente = in the first place
- Hace tiempo = a while ago
- Tras = following
- Luego = later
- En seguida = immediately
- Posteriormente = later or subsequently
- Ulteriormente = subsequently
Spanish Versions of English Expressions with “Before”
Here are some of the most common English expressions using the word “before” that we’ve translated into Spanish for you to add to your growing collection of Spanish vocabulary!
1. Come before – preceder a
No es el problema más grande que precede a la corte.
It isn’t the biggest problem to come before the court.
2. Go before – producirse antes, tener lugar antes, comparecer ante
Debe comparecer ante un juez para el veredicto.
He must go before a judge for the verdict.
3. Beforehand – de antemano, con antelación
De antemano me gustaría agradecerte por la invitación.
I’d like to thank you beforehand for the invitation.
4. Before long – dentro de poco, en poco tiempo
Dentro de poco vuelvo a viajar.
It won’t be before long until I travel again.
5. The day before yesterday- anteayer
Tuve un examen difícil anteayer.
I had a difficult exam the day before yesterday.
6. Never before – nunca antes
Nunca antes había probado una comida tan deliciosa.
Never before had I tried such delicious food.
7. Just before – justo antes de
Justo antes de que llegara Armando, había terminado de comer.
Just before Armando arrived I had finished eating.
8. Long before – mucho antes
Mucho antes de que nacieras aprendí a hablar francés.
Long before you were born, I learned how to speak French.
9. As before – como antes
Comí en el café como antes de estudiar aquí.
I ate in the café as I did before studying here.
Spanish Version of English Expressions with “After”
Let’s continue with our lists of common English expressions translated to Spanish and see how else we can use phrases with “after” in Spanish!
1. Ever after – por siempre, para siempre
Vivieron felices por siempre.
They lived happily ever after.
2. After today – a partir de hoy
A partir de hoy, ya no aceptaré más ausencias.
After today, no more absences will be allowed.
3. The day after tomorrow – pasado mañana
Nos vamos a Francia pasado mañana.
We’re leaving for France the day after tomorrow.
4. After all – después de todo
Después de todo aprendimos mucho.
We learned a lot after all.
5. Twenty after seven (7:20) – siete y veinte
Fuimos a cenar a las siete y veinte.
We went to dinner twenty after seven.
6. Day after day – día tras día
Día tras día nada cambia.
Day after day nothing changes.
7. To be after someone – ir detrás de alguien
A Roberto le gusta ir detrás de Amanda.
Roberto loves to be after Amanda.
It’s Time to Speak Spanish!
Ultimately, the journey to becoming a fluent Spanish speaker is worth every nugget of achievement and moment of challenge!
After reading this blog post, you’re now equipped with a long list of words, phrases, and common time expressions related to “before” and “after” in Spanish that you can use in your conversations as well as to boost your comprehension of native Spanish speakers.
To test yourself today and check how much native Spanish you understand, sign up for a free class! Our professional Spanish teachers from Guatemala are eager to talk with you and support your practice of new skills!
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