What is the part of speech of before in the following:

  • Long before anyone coined the term sci-fi?

I am wondering whether it is an adjective, an adverb, or a preposition?

  • 2
    I take it as a preposition, with a clausal complement. The adverb "long" is a complement of "before". – BillJ Jun 11 '18 at 12:30
  • 2
    Long before anyone coined the term sci-fi is not a "sentence". It's an adverbial phrase - syntactically equivalent to, for example, long ago, or recently. – FumbleFingers Jun 11 '18 at 12:43
  • Some would say that adverbial clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions, but there's effectively no difference between them and prepositions, as @BillJ suggests. Before noon and before he arrives do the same job, after all. – John Lawler Jun 11 '18 at 19:16

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