Are "before" and "below" interchangeable?

In context, the example is

medical expenses before the AGI floor

when the intended meaning apparently is

medical expenses below the AGI floor

The example comes from a textbook on tax accounting and these two interpretations are diametrically opposed.

  • 2
    If they are opposites, they are not interchangeable. The book says before, and that means what? Before could mean before you reach the minimum income level of the AGI, the same as below that minimum (not opposite). Up to that point, medical expenses are not deductible. Mar 7, 2017 at 20:32
  • 1
    I don't understand your question very well. Are you trying to understand the textbook, or are you getting ready to do some writing? Also, I think you should give us a paragraph from the textbook. Mar 8, 2017 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


Before implies a date or time, below implies a quantity, simply as that.

"Before one reaches the AGI floor" is possible but only because 'reach' transforms the behaviour, "before the AGI floor" is simply incorrect (unless we are referring to a building)

  • 2
    "Before implies a date," Not necessarily, esp. not in accounting - e.g. before taxes. Mar 7, 2017 at 21:01
  • Exactly so, before taxes, before the time of adding taxes. Thank you. I will edit my answer.
    – Chris Pink
    Mar 7, 2017 at 21:03

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