I was taught in school that a preposition is always followed by a noun, pronoun or Gerund. But recently, I have encountered a case (Ielts writing test) in which I had to describe and write something like this: “The household trash is delivered to the trucks before dumped at a landfill site”.

I don’t know if it is grammatically right because the trash is an object so it should be dumped by people while V-ed is not supposed to follow “before”, a preposition.

So could you help me out with this question, I really appreciate it.

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    Welcome to EL&U. This question might be better-served on our sister site for English Language Learners; according to traditional grammar, before is not a preposition here, but an adverb. Also note that most adjectives can be used metonymically or substantively as nouns (e.g. the good, the bad, and the ugly ), and so in turn you may find past participles as prepositional objects: Upon the wicked He shall rain snares.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 14:31
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    @choster No, before is not an adverb here in any grammar. I would consider the sentence utterly ungrammatical: there is a participle/gerund being missing (“before being dumped…”), without which the sentence is just plain wrong to me, not merely inelegant. Adding in the missing word, before is unambiguously a preposition. (If instead you make it a finite clause, “before it is dumped…”, before would be considered a conjunction in traditional grammar, but still not an adverb. That would be uses like “Have you been here before?”.) Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 14:53
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    @JanusBahsJacquet Being is unnecessary because you have an is beforehand. The household trash is delivered before [the household trash is] dumped. Clumsy, painful even, but understandable.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 14:57
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    @choster Definitely not to me. The verb cannot be partially elided in this way to me at all. Would you consider “He’d gone home before gone shopping” grammatical as well? A compound verbal construction like the perfect or the passive must be either repeated in full or reduced to a nominal form (i.e., a gerund) for it to be used after before and similar prepositions. Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 15:06
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    Alas, ellipsis is not a technical term. It simply means 'something is missing', and doesn't say what's missing or what rule governs its deletion. One can't just delete any word at random, after all. I find the sentence ungrammatical, because before does not take a past participle phrase as a complement. It does take a gerund phrase, so being dumped is fine. Being, however, can't be deleted by conjunction reduction under identity with is in is delivered, because it's being, not is. Conjunction reduction requires identity of form as well as lexeme. Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


It's not a valid English sentence.

I would say: "The household trash is delivered to the trucks before being dumped at a landfill site"

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