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After / Before - Subordinating Conjunctions

Before and "after" are used to show what happened 1st and what happened 2nd. They are subordinating conjunctions, but that is not very important.

Let's look at the sentence patterns. "Before" and "after" can go at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle of a sentence.

Action/Result 1 + before + action/result 2
  • I brush my teeth before I go to bed.
  • She eats breakfast before she goes to work.
  • They cleaned their house before left for their vacation.
We can switch the order of the sentence.

Before + action/result 2, + action/result 1

If we use "before" at the beginning of a sentence, then use a comma when writing.
  • Before you leave, can you check my report?
  • Before she left, she said goodbye.
  • Before it rained, the sky became dark.
Action/Result 2 + after + Action/Result 1
  • She ate dinner after she exercised.
  • We left the office after we finished all of our work.
  • I will call you after I arrive.
We can switch the order of the sentence.

After + action/result 2, + action/result 1

If we use "after" at the beginning of a sentence, then use a comma when writing.
  • After you finish, call me.
  • After they play soccer, they usually get something to eat.
  • After it rained, the ground was soaking wet.
We can also use nouns or gerunds following "before" and "after".
  • After dinner, we went for a walk.
  • Before work, I like to exercise.
  • After eating dinner, she called her mother.
  • She always goes to the gym after work.
  • I will give it to you before tomorrow morning's meeting.
  • The store will be closed after 5.
  • My life changed after reading this book.
There are usually a few different ways to say the same thing using "before" and "after".
  • She came after she finished her work.
  • She came after finishing her work.
  • She came after her work.
  • After work, she came.
  • After finishing her work, she came.
  • After she finished her work, she came.
These all have the same meaning.

Improve your English grammar and learn to speak fluently with this simple practice. Finish the sentences and questions below and then practice making your own sentences and questions. It is the best way to learn English fast!

After work, I will _______________.
After work, I usually _______________.
I _______________ after waking up.
I like to _______________ after I eat dinner.
She _______________ after exercising.
_______________ after it rains.
The people were _______________ after the presidential election.
I feel _______________ after studying English.
I _______________ before I go to bed.
I _______________ before going to work.
Before eating dinner, I _______________.
Before I relax at night, I _______________.
_______________ before it rains.
Everybody felt _______________ before _______________.
What will you do after _______________?
What will you do before _______________?
What did he do after _______________?
What did she do before _______________?
What do you usually do after _______________?
What does he normally do before _______________?

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