Not sure I can discern the crux of the difference between antequam and ante (According to L&S (II.B.1.a vs II.B.2), ante might be used with verbs, like antequam). In other words, in what occasions we are bound to use only one of them? — when they are not simply interchangeable.

1 Answer 1


The word ante is both a preposition and an adverb, whereas antequam is only an adverb — or more accurately antequam falls under the adverbial use types of ante and antequam is essentially a conjunction. If you need a preposition, ante is your only option. If you need an adverb, the difference between the two is small.

In L&S both words are given under ante, with antequam only appearing in part II in adverbial usage, mostly in II.B.2.

I will let the details of this difference be fleshed out in possible other answers, because I just wanted to give this one point.

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    I would say ante( )quam is used as a conjunction, just like quam.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 22, 2020 at 18:10
  • @Cerberus It seems that L&S (I added a link and some coordinates to my answer) that usage is classified as adverbial. I wonder if that dictionary makes a distinction between adverbs and conjunctions in any meaningful way.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 22, 2020 at 18:38
  • It could be argued that many conjunctions have adverbial properties 'externally', since they head adverbial clauses ("because I like you"; "before she left"). The same can be said about many prepositions, which head adverbial phrases when combined with objects ("in the oven"; "before the war"). The word ante as used in combination with quam may be considered adverbial, which is no doubt why Lewis & Short mention it under adverbial; but the combination functions like a conjunction, does it not? When written as one word, certainly it must be a conjunction?
    – Cerberus
    Sep 23, 2020 at 21:32
  • @Cerberus Agreed. I updated the answer slightly. I'd be happy to see more details in another answer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 24, 2020 at 6:19

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