Spanish time adverbials: antes…, después…

spanish time adverbials antes despues featured 2

How do you express before and after in Spanish?

Before is antes in Spanish, and after is después. Is that all? That basic? Of course not.

These two words work alone or combined with others.

You have to be aware of its place in the sentence and what type of word or phrase follows it.

The good news is that you are the read all the information you need to express before and after in Spanish correctly.

antes despues spanish adverbials

How to express “antes” and “después” in Spanish

Let’s start by saying that before and after are adverbials that refer to time and space.

Their equivalents in Spanish are antes and después.

Although, después can also mean then and later. In Spanish, they can be used in different ways: alone or followed by de and que.

In Spanish, you’ll find that they can go alone in the sentence when they refer to a time passed or following, or talking about the order of things and actions without expressing a specific time. Like in the following sentences:

Antes yo vivía en la ciudad, ahora vivo en el campo.

I lived in the city before, now I live in the country.

Ella trabajó muchos años como maestra, después comenzó a escribir.

She worked as a teacher for many years, after that / then she started to write.

Yo llegué a las tres. Ella había llegado antes.

I came here and three. She had arrived before.

Trajo algo de comida y después se fue.

She dropped off some food and left just after.

Have a look at the following explanation of how to use antes and después with nouns and verbs.

After reading it’s a good idea to practice!

spanish antes de despues de

How to use “antes de” and “después de”

Most of the time you usually need to complement the information and use other words together with “after” or “before”.

In Spanish, in the case, you want to add more details after antes and después, pay attention to the construction of the phrase.

If you are adding a noun or a verb in infinitive after antes and después you must use antes de or después de.

“Antes de” and “después de” + nouns / pronouns

Nos veremos después de mediodía.

We’ll meet in the afternoon.

Sabremos las notas después de las tres.

We will know the grades after three.

Por favor, lleguen antes de las dos para organizar todo.

Please, arrive before two to organize everything.

Fuimos a bailar después de la reunión

We went to dance after the meeting.

Tú llegaste antes de mí. Yo voy después de tí.

You arrived before me. I go after you.

“Antes de” and “después de” + infinitive verb

You also use antes de and después de before an infinitive verb.

Remember that in English you put -ing verbs after prepositions, like before and after.

But in Spanish, you need a verb in the infinitive. Those are verbs ending in -ar, -er, -ir.

You’ll get it when you read the following sentences:

Me gusta leer antes de ir a dormir.

I like to read before going to sleep.

Jane se sintió mal después de comer un trozo de tarta.

Jane felt sick after eating a piece of pie.

Se disculpó después de atender la llamada.

She apologized after answering the call.

spanish time adverbials antes despues

How to use “antes (de) que” and “después (de) que”

This is a little tricky for beginners but let’s look at it.

First, it’s up to you if you use de que or only que. Both ways are right.

Second, you need to add que (that) after antes and después when you introduce a clause.

It means that you are making a new sentence linked to another by one of these words.

Also, this happens when the subject of the first sentence is different from the subject of the second, otherwise, you’ll use the infinitive. What makes it a little complicated is that you need the subjunctive case.

“Antes (de) que” + subjunctive

The clause introduced by antes de que will always take the subjunctive because, no matter the tense, it will always refer to a future event, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Antes de que tu llegaras yo era feliz. (“llegaras” is subjunctive, verb: llegar. I was happy first then you arrived. )

Before you came, I was happy.

Ya sabías que ibas a ganar antes que él moviera la pieza. (“moviera” is subjunctive, verb: mover)

You knew you would win before he moved the piece.

Después de que tú cocines voy a limpiar (“cocines” is subjunctive, you haven’t cooked yet, but you eventually will).

After you cook, I’ll clean.

“Después (de) que” + subjunctive / indicative cases

Después de qué accepts both the subjunctive and the indicative. The difference can be tricky.

When you talk about an event that will or would happen after another event, you use the subjunctive case, and when you talk about something that certainly happened you use the indicative case.

You may find the subjunctive in the news and literature, though.

La computadora se apagó después de que guardé el archivo. (“guardé” is not subjunctive, it’s indicative because I’m stating a fact, something that actually happens. I did save the file)

The computer went off just after I saved the file.

El profesor siempre se ríe de nosotros después de que damos una repuestas incorrect. (“damos” is not subjunctive. It’s indicative because I’m stating a fact, something that actually happens).

The teacher always laughs at us after we give a wrong answer.

Comeré después de que mis amigos se vayan. (“Vayan” is subjunctive. My friends are at my home and they Will eventually leave, then I’ll have some food)

I’ll eat after my friends leave.

spanish antes de subjunctive

Spanish time adverbials

To summarize you use antes or después, and also when using nouns, pronouns or infinitive verbs you say antes de and después de; and with clauses you use después (de) que and antes (de) que.

Take into account antes and después when referring to time admit modifiers like mucho (a lot) and poco (few).

You can say mucho antes, mucho después, muchísimo antes / después, poco antes / después de que.

Keep learning, you are doing great!

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