We use before most commonly with noun phrases to refer to timed events:
- I like to go for a run before breakfast.
- You can check-in online but you have to do it at least four hours before your flight.
We use before to refer to the place, especially when it is seen as part of a journey or as part of a sequence of events in time:
- Get off the bus just before Euston Station.
- Just before the end of the poem, there is a line where the poet expresses his deepest fears.
before (preposition) and In front of
- I must move my car before nine o’clock.
- It’s parked in front of the post office. (NOT … before the post t7ffice.)
Before is normally used to refer to time. However, it can refer to place:
to talk about order in queues, lists, documents, etc. We use ‘a’ before a consonant and ‘the’ before a vowel.
- Do you mind? I was before / in front of you!
- Her name comes before mine in the alphabet.
To mean ‘in the presence of (somebody important)’
- I came up before the magistrates for dangerous driving last week.
In the expressions right before one’s eyes, before one’s very eyes.