Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is the following sentence correct:

I watched the sequel before the original movie.

It sounds strange to me—something like "earlier than the original" or "before I watched the original movie" sounds better, but I'm looking for a definitive rule for the usage of "before".

Can "before" be used together with an object?

share|improve this question
    
Do you mean "Is 'before' a preposition?" ? –  Mitch Feb 11 '13 at 22:02
add comment

3 Answers 3

Yes. "Before" serves as a correlation/correlative conjunction and functions like a coordinating conjunction in this case, which would allow you to omit repeating the SV.

share|improve this answer
    
What's an SV, as in ". . .repeating the SV"? –  rhetorician Feb 12 '13 at 1:10
1  
SV means "Subject + Verb" here –  The Frog Feb 12 '13 at 8:49
add comment

Sounds fine to me.

Before can be a preposition, a conjunction or an adverb.

Before watching makes it a clearer case for being an adverb, whereas before the original makes it a clearer case for being a preposition. Regardless of the part of speech, it's correct.

The Oxford Learner's Dictionary has some pretty good examples, some of which are pretty similar under the preposition entry, such as "He arrived before me," where an object pronoun comes into play even though you could just as easily say "He arrived before I did."

If you're set on finding an alternative way to express it, try something more concise like "I watched the sequel first."

http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/before_1

share|improve this answer
1  
It's all of the above. In English most words swing several ways. In this case, the original sentence is I watched the sequel before I watched the original movie, and Conjunction Reduction removes the repeated subject and verb of the second clause, leaving only the different object the original movie. –  John Lawler Feb 11 '13 at 22:53
add comment

Before can also mean in front of as in: The accused appeared before the judge.

share|improve this answer
    
That's a preposition, which is not the meaning of "before" in OP. –  livresque Feb 12 '13 at 13:24
    
Yes, fair enough. –  The Frog Feb 13 '13 at 16:50
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.