In front of vs. before
WRONG: The man is standing
before the house.
RIGHT: The man is standing in front of the house.
Wrong prepositions are always getting in the way of our perfect English and this week’s mistake concerns the misuse of ‘before.’
You cannot say, ‘The man is standing before the house’ because ‘before’ is used for time and not place. You can say, ‘I didn’t know Honza before last summer’, or ‘I drank 6 beers last night but luckily, I had eaten before it’ because the ‘before’ refers to a moment in time.
With place, or location, we use ‘in front of.’ So, we have to say, ‘The man is standing in front of the house.’
Here they are together:
A: I don’t like the man standing in front of me in the queue. He’s so loud.
B: I know what you mean, I’ve met him a few times before.