Can You Start a Sentence With “Before”?

Starting a sentence with “before” can contribute to the coherence and flow of your writing, whether you’re communicating formally or informally.

In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of using “before” at the beginning of sentences, providing examples and alternative expressions to ensure clear and accessible communication.

Understanding “Before”

“Before” is a temporal conjunction that indicates the time preceding an event or action. When used at the beginning of a sentence, it sets the stage for chronological relationships and helps structure your narrative.

Formal Usage

In formal writing, such as academic papers, reports, or professional correspondence, utilizing “before” at the beginning of a sentence adds a temporal dimension to your statements, aiding in the logical progression of ideas.

Example 1:

  • The research team conducted extensive experiments. Before presenting the findings, it is crucial to discuss the methodology.

Example 2:

  • The company must address financial challenges before implementing new policies. This ensures a stable foundation for organizational changes.

Informal Usage

In informal writing, like blog posts, emails, or casual articles, starting a sentence with “before” maintains clarity while introducing a conversational tone. It helps guide the reader through a chronological sequence of events or ideas.

Example 1:

  • We need to consider our options before deciding on a vacation destination. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.

Example 2:

  • Make sure to charge your phone before heading out. It prevents any inconvenience during your travels.

Alternatives to “Before”


To enhance variety in your writing, consider incorporating alternative expressions for “before” that convey temporal relationships effectively.

1. Prior to:

  • Prior to finalizing the project timeline, a detailed analysis of resource availability is necessary.

2. Preceding:

  • The team addressed client concerns, preceding the implementation of the updated software.

3. In advance of:

  • In advance of the meeting, review the agenda to facilitate a more productive discussion.

4. Earlier than:

  • Complete the required paperwork earlier than the deadline to avoid any delays in processing.


In conclusion, initiating sentences with “before” proves to be a valuable technique for establishing temporal relationships in both formal and informal writing. Whether you’re crafting a scholarly article or a casual blog post, using “before” strategically contributes to the overall clarity and coherence of your composition.

Additionally, exploring alternative expressions ensures your writing remains engaging and accessible to a wide audience. By mastering the art of starting sentences with “before,” you enhance your ability to guide readers through chronological sequences and present ideas with precision.

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