How to Use “从前(cóng qián)” and “以前(yǐ qián)”

 How to Use “从前(cóng qián)” and “以前(yǐ qián)”
Jenie Cao

Teacher: Jenie Cao Experience: 5 years

Jenie specializes in teaching Chinese for daily use, for business, and to prepare for taking the HSK test. She is skilled at helping students understand Chinese grammar, how to practice, and how to remember what they study effectively. She has lived abroad and has taught professionals from major multinational corporations. Well qualified, she graduated from a college that focuses on foreign language teaching and continues to participate in professional development programs for teaching Chinese.

How to Use “从前(cóng qián)” and “以前(yǐ qián)”
Teacher : Jenie Cao

从前 and 以前can both be used alone to mean “before”,“formerly”, or “in the past” in an approximate way. Let’s look at some examples.

When used alone, these two words can also be used as attributives and are often put before a noun or pronoun to mean “something or someone in the past” or “formerly”.

We can put a time word or something that hints at a certain time before 以前,to mean “before that time”, but 从前 can't be used in this situation because it’s only used to show a rough idea of the past in general.

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