Indicative vs. Subjunctive 
Cheat Sheet
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (previously)
a. antes
We've met before; you don't have to introduce him to me.Nos conocemos de antes; no me lo tienes que presentar.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
2. (preceding in time)
a. antes de
Always wash your hands before dinner.Siempre debes lavarte las manos antes de cenar.
3. (in front of)
a. ante
I had never performed before such a large crowd.Nunca había actuado ante una multitud tan grande.
b. delante de
They were married before a small gathering of friends and family.Se casaron delante de un pequeño grupo de amigos y familia.
4. (in importance)
a. antes que
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is in love with language.Un poeta es, antes que nada, una persona enamorada de los idiomas.
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
5. (used to indicate time)
a. antes de que
Finish your homework before mom gets home.Acaba tus deberes antes de que mamá llegue a casa.
6. (used to indicate preference)
a. antes que
I will die on my feet before living on my knees.Moriré de pie antes que vivir de rodillas.
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A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (with time)
a. antes de
before Christmasantes de Navidad
I got here before youhe llegado antes que tú
the day before the battlela víspera de la batalla
before that,…antes (de eso),…
2. (with place)
a. ante, delante de
before my very eyesante mis propios ojos
to appear before the judgecomparecer ante el juez
3. (in importance)
she puts her family before everything elsesu familia es lo primero para ella
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
4. (with time)
a. antes
two days beforedos días antes
the day/year beforeel día/año anterior
I have seen him beforelo he visto antes
I've told you beforeya te lo he dicho (otras veces)
5. (in space)
this page and the one beforeesta página y la anterior
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
6. (general)
a. antes de que
come and see me before you leaveven a verme antes de marcharte
before I forget, will you…antes de que se me olvide, ¿podrías…?
give it to her before she criesdáselo antes de que empiece a llorar
Copyright © 2006 Harrap Publishers Limited
before [bɪˈfɔːʳ]
When before is an element in a phrasal verb, eg come before, go before, look up the verb.
1 (in time, order, rank) antes de
before Christ antes de Cristo; the week before last hace dos semanas; before long (in future) antes de poco; (in past) poco después; before going, would you ... antes de marcharte, quieres ...; income before tax renta (f) bruta or antes de impuestos; profits before tax beneficios (m) preimpositivos
2 (in place) delante de; (in the presence of) ante; delante de; en presencia de
they were married before a judge se casaron en presencia de un juez
3 (facing)
the question before us (in meeting) el asunto que tenemos que discutir; the problem before us is ... el problema que se nos plantea es ...; the task before us la tarea que tenemos por delante; we still have two hours before us tenemos todavía dos horas por delante; a new life lay before him una vida nueva se abría ante él
4 (rather than)
I should choose this one before that yo escogería este antes que aquel; death before dishonour! ¡antes la muerte que el deshonor!
1 (time) antes
a moment before un momento antes; the day before el día anterior; before, it used to be different antes, todo era distinto; on this occasion and the one before en esta ocasión y la anterior
2 (place, order) delante; adelante
before and behind por delante y por detrás; that chapter and the one before ese capítulo y el anterior
(time) antes de que; (rather than) antes que;
When before is an adverb, you can usually translate it using antes:
Why didn't you say so before? ¿Por qué no lo has dicho antes?
I had spoken to her before Había hablado con ella antes
But the before in never before and ever before is often not translated:
I've never been to Spain before Nunca he estado en España
I had never been to a police station before Nunca había estado (antes) en una comisaría
It's not true that the working class is earning more money than ever before No es cierto que la clase obrera gane más dinero que nunca
The day/night/week etc before should usually be translated using el día/la noche/la semana etc anterior:
The night before, he had gone to a rock concert La noche anterior había ido a un concierto de rock
In more formal contexts, where before could be substituted by previously, anteriormente is another option:
As I said before ... Como he dicho antes or anteriormente ...
When before is equivalent to already, translate using ya (antes) or, in questions about whether someone has done what they are doing now before, using ¿es la primera vez que ...?:
"How about watching this film?" — "Actually, I've seen it before" —¿Vemos esa película? —Es que ya la he visto
I had been to Glasgow a couple of times before Ya había estado (antes) en Glasgow un par de veces
Have you been to Spain before? ¿Has estado ya en España? or ¿Es la primera vez que vienes a España?
Translate period of time + before using hacía + period of time:
They had married nearly 40 years before Se habían casado hacía casi 40 años
Hacía is invariable in this sense.
When before is a preposition, you can usually translate it using antes de:
Please ring before seven Por favor, llama antes de las siete
Shall we go for a walk before dinner? ¿Nos vamos a dar un paseo antes de cenar?
But use antes que with names of people and personal pronouns when they stand in for a verb:
If you get there before me or before I do, wait for me in the bar Si llegas antes que yo, espérame en el bar
Translate before + -ing using antes de + infinitive:
He said goodbye to the children before leaving Se despidió de los niños antes de irse
When before is a conjunction, you can usually translate it using antes de que + subjunctive:
I'll ask Peter about it before he goes away on holiday Se lo preguntaré a Peter antes de que se vaya de vacaciones
We reached home before the storm broke Llegamos a casa antes de que empezara la tormenta
If the subject of both clauses is the same, antes de + infinitive is usually used rather than antes de que:
Give me a ring before you leave the office Llámame antes de salir de la oficina
This construction is also sometimes used in colloquial Spanish when the subjects are different:
Before you arrived she was very depressed Antes de llegar tú, estaba muy deprimida
Collins Complete Spanish Electronic Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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