By vs. Before

'By' and 'before' are mainly confused when they are referring to time. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between 'by' and 'before' is that 'before' is used to show a time in advance of a certain time while 'by' talks about a time that is not later than a given deadline.

We can use 'by' to set deadlines. We use 'by' to set a specific time in which everything must occur before or at the exact moment. For example:

Turn in your assignments by midnight.

You have by Saturday to finish this project.

We use 'before' to show that something occurred in advance of a particular time or event. We do not use 'before' to set a deadline but we just use it to set a time. For example:

Try to be here before 9 p.m.

He always arrives before dinner.

Both 'by' and 'before' are used to show location. 'By' is used to show the specific location of something near a place or another object.
'Before' is used to show the location of something in front of something else. For example:

I always go on picnics with my friend by the river.

They killed him right before my eyes.

You might also like

From or By Someone

Is the gift 'by' someone or is it 'from' someone? Is this book written 'by' or 'from' someone?

From vs. Than

'From' and 'than' are prepositions with entirely different meanings, but they are confusing for some English learners. In this lesson, we will learn why!

By vs. From

'From' and 'by' are prepositions in the English lngauage. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

By vs. At

'By' and 'at' are both used to show 'time' which is why they might confuse learners. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

By vs. Per

'By' and 'per' are prepositions that refer to measurments. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

By vs. Within

'By' and 'within' may confuse learners. In this lesson, we will find out why and learn their uses and differences.