Preposition (avant & devant)

Definition: Because they can both mean before, there is often confusion between the prepositions avant and devant. But there's a big difference in the way they are used.

  1. Avant expresses something to do with time.
    It can be used in front of a temporal expression, noun, pronoun, verb, or clause.
    avant midi before noon
    avant l'examen before the test
    avant de partir before leaving
    avant que nous ne partions before we leave
  2. Devant expresses position or location (figurative or literal) and means before or in front of.
    It can be used only in front of a noun or pronoun.
    devant la voiture in front of the car
    devant les juges before the judges
    devant le danger faced with / in the face of danger.
    Il est devant toi. He's in front of you.

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