Difference Between By and Before

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 05, 2022

       

Difference Between By and Before Difference Between By and Before

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Introduction

English vocabulary contains so many words which lead to different meanings from different aspects. If you spark a light on the word “by”- this word has various meanings according to the English dictionary. A set of structural rules are maintained in each & every word in English grammar. These rules may vary from sentence to sentence.

In English grammar, the preposition is used to maintain the relation between two words in a sentence. More elaborately, we can say that preposition combines with nouns, pronouns, or noun phrase. In this case, also, there are some rules in prepositions. So, it can be said that prepositions are highly conversational. By and before are two words that come under the “preposition” family.

"By" vs. "Before"

The word “by” is used to indicate the stipulation of the size of a margin. More briefly, we can say that this word is used to specify a quantity or amount, or number. For example: “The length is measured by meter scale”. In mathematical expressions, division can be expressed through this word. For example: “4 by 2 equals 2. Before means of doing a particular task earlier. If a person has completed a task before then it means he can do the same task now as he has acquired knowledge from the experience. Though, from this aspect also we can be able to understand the meaning of the word “before”. Inversely, the transformation can also be denoted by this word. For an instance: “She was fairer before going to the hostel”. The accurate meaning of before is – happening something earlier or sooner than the given particular time. For an instance- “He reached the station before the departure of the train. It implies that he has reached the station earlier, to catch the train. It’s an adverb that contains a variety of different meanings from different aspects. We will depict the differences between by and before.

By is a German word that is often used in our daily language. But we don’t know the meaning of this word from every aspect, which is the cause of making grammatical errors. In old English, its spelling was bi, be, etc. It is highly related to the dutch word “bij” and the German word “bei”. On the other hand, the word “before” originated from the German word “bevor” and its old English is “before”. According to English Grammar, ‘by’ and ‘before’ both are used as prepositions and adverbs. But, the word ‘before’ is used as a conjunction too. The major difference between ‘by’ and ‘before’ is – By cites a period that is presumed to be before, until, or at the termination of a particular time. While, before means happening something earlier or sooner than the given particular time. By is used after a noun that designates an activity of the agent. Before means – “in front of someone or something”. 

Differences between ‘by’ and ‘before’ in Tabular Form  

Table: By vs Before
Parameters of Comparison
By
Before
Usage in Grammar
“By” is used as a preposition and adverb. 
“Before” is used as a preposition, adverb, and conjunction. 
Definition
By cites to a time that is presumed to be before, until, or at the termination of a particular time.
Before means happening something earlier or sooner than the given particular time.
Phrases
The phrases of by are – by and by, by the by, etc.
The phrases before are – previous to, before, ahead of, in advance of.
Synonyms
The synonyms of by are- through, beyond, away, next to, according to, with, at, before
The synonyms of this word are- earlier, prior, ahead, previously, preparatory to, in advance, in front, heretofore, etc
Implications
By refers to the location of a phenomenon beside a place or object. For example: ‘’Rima has a furnished bungalow by the roadside
“Before” means to be in front of someone or something. For example: “Riya was sitting before Liza”. 
Antonyms
The antonyms of by are- away from, ahead of, faraway from, far apart from, out of, distant from, etc.
The antonyms of the word “before” are- after, behind, afterword, next, etc. 
Most used phrases
The most used phrases are – using, by dint of, etc.
The most used phrases of the word “before” are- before now, before then, etc.

 What is ‘By’?

In the mid16th Century, this word is used for a side issue or an incidental matter. For a better understanding, we can take the example of “voice change” in Grammar. There are two categories- 1) Active voice and 2) Passive voice. A boy was playing cricket. This sentence is an instance of active voice. If we convert this active voice into a passive voice then the sentence construction will be like this: Cricket was played by a boy. As a preposition, the similar words of these words are- using, through the agency of, by, via, etc. For example, “he recognized the girl by hearing her voice. It means that the boy recognized the girl through her voice. 

By is also used after a noun which denotes an action of the agent. For example, “An intellectual decision by the Government”. Besides this, the word “by” is used to identify the author or singer, or director of a text, idea, song, or movie. For example, - “A book by Ravinder Singh”, “A song by Arijit Singh”, and “A film by Ajay Rathore”. This word also indicates the mode of attaining something. For example, “Covid can be controlled by wearing masks”. 

The word by indicates a term to which an explanation can be assigned. For example: What is meant by the term “Machine Learning”?. The word “by” is used to specify a name by which the person is called. For example: “he mostly called me by my nickname”. This word designates the means of transport that has been chosen for a journey. For example: “the cost of traveling by plane is quite expensive”. This word is also used to designate the other parent of someone’s child. For example: “Liza is his daughter by his second wife”. Apart from this, this word is used to demonstrate the ancestor of a pedigree animal, especially a horse. By is often used in numerous phrases that demonstrate how something happens. For example: “I heard by chance that he has cheated on a girl”. 

The word “by” is used to indicate the stipulation of the size of a margin. More briefly, we can say that this word is used to specify a quantity or amount, or number. For example: “The length is measured by meter scale”. In mathematical expressions, division can be expressed through this word. For example: “4 by 2 equals 2”. Especially in dimensions, multiplication can be expressed through this word. For an instance: “A map measuring 300 by 500 mm”. “By” specifies the finishing time or termination of a particular work. For example: “The task is expected to be finished by 20th June. 

The word by indicates the period in which something occurs. For example: “Nocturnal bats always hunt by night”. “By” is also used to refer to something. By is also used in mild promises. For example: “It was the least he could do, by God”. In phrases, “by” is used to indicate something occurring again and again or progressively, generally with the repetition of a unit of time. For example: “the color of this chemical solution is changing minute by minute”. By refers to the location of a phenomenon beside a place or object. For example: ‘’Rima has a furnished bungalow by the roadside”. In plural noun form, by can be represented as “byes”. The phrases of by are – “by and by”, “by the by” etc. “By and by” means when something occurs eventually or in the end. Whereas “by the by” indicates to happening something incidentally. 

The synonyms of by are- through, beyond, away, next to, according to, with, at, before, etc. The antonyms of by are- away from, ahead of, faraway from, far apart from, out of, distant from, etc.

What is ‘Before’?

The accurate meaning of before is – happening something earlier or sooner than the given particular time. For an instance- “He reached the station before the departure of the train. It implies that he has reached the station earlier, to catch the train. It’s an adverb that contains a variety of different meanings from different aspects. As an adverb, its meaning is to be in front of someone or something. It will be crystal clear through an example: Ram was sitting before Sneha. It is also used as a conjunction in cases where it means ahead of time or as an alternative. For the first condition the example is – “He left the house before he got the appointment letter. And for the second condition, the example is –“they would visit the place before they would cooperate”. It is very well-known to us that the before is used as a preposition. The phrases before are – previous to, before, ahead of, in advance of, preparatory to, and preliminary to. Hence the synonyms of this word are- earlier, prior, prior-to, ahead, previously, preparatory to, in advance, in front, heretofore, etc. Whereas the antonyms of this word are- after, behind, afterword, next, etc. 

Before means of doing a particular task earlier. If a person has completed a task before then it means he can do the same task now as he has acquired knowledge from the experience. Though, from this aspect also we can be able to understand the meaning of the word “before”. Inversely, the transformation can also be denoted by this word. For an instance: “She was fairer before going to the hostel”. This sentence implies the difference between the girl’s skin tone before going to the hostel.

Main Differences Between By and Before in Points

  1. In English Grammar, “by” and “before” both terms are used as prepositions and adverbs. Though ‘before’ is also utilized as a conjunction whereas by is not.
  2. By cites to a period that is presumed to be before, until, or at the termination of a particular time. Whereas, before means happening something earlier or sooner than the given particular time. 
  3. “by” is used to identify the author or singer or director of a text, idea, song, or movie. For example, - “A book by Chetan Bhagat”. Whereas, we can’t write the above sentence by the word “before”. 
  4. The phrases of by are – by and by, by the by, etc. Whereas, the phrases before are – previous to, before, ahead of, in advance of.
  5. By refers to the location of a phenomenon beside a place or object. For example: ‘’Rima has a furnished bungalow by the roadside”. Whereas, “before” means to be in front of someone or something. For example: “Riya was sitting before Liza”. 
  6. The synonyms of by are- through, beyond, away, next to, according to, with, at, before, etc. While, the synonyms of this word are- earlier, prior, ahead, previously, preparatory to, in advance, in front, heretofore, etc.
  7. The antonyms of by are- away from, ahead of, faraway from, far apart from, out of, distant from, etc. While the antonyms of the word “before” are- after, behind, afterword, next, etc. 
  8. “By” is used to indicate something occurring again and again or progressively, generally with the repetition of a unit of time. While the transformation of someone or something can also be denoted through the word “before”.
  9. The most used phrases of by are – using, by dint of, etc. Whereas, the most used phrases of the word “before” are- before now, before then, etc.

Conclusion

Well, we have discussed the main topic which is the “Difference between by and before” in detail. Hope you got the understandable contrasts between the two words- “by” and “before”. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind the usages of those words, Finally, we would like to conclude by saying that this content will be helpful for you for a better understanding of the distinctions between by and before. For further information, tell us by commenting down below.


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"Difference Between By and Before." Diffzy.com, 2022. Fri. 09 Dec. 2022. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-by-and-before-546>.



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