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yǐ qián
n. before, earlier times
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1. Referring to something happened in the past:
1a.以前 can be used alone by itself:
Example:.我以前做过销售经理。 [phr] I used to work as a sales manager.
1b.以前 can be used after a point/ a period of time
Examples:
三点半以前 [phr] before 3 o'clock
三年以前 [phr] three years ago

2. Referring to something that is going to happen in the future:
以前 is used after a point of time
Examples:
她妈妈不让她在十八岁以前与异性朋友交往。 [phr] Her mother didn't allow her to make male friends before eighteen.
在股市下周一再次开盘以前,这给了人们充足的时间平静下来。 [phr] Before the market opened up again on Monday, this gave people plenty of time to settle down.

It is worth the time to check out the usages of 从前, an adverb very similar to 以前.
lisaC
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以前 vs 曾经

1. 以前 is a noun, 曾经 is an adverb. 以前 can be a subject in a sentence or an object of a verb/preposition, and it can modify other nouns; 曾经 cannot be used in this way. 曾经 cannot replace 以前 in the following two example sentences:

E.g. Subject: 以前比较轻松,现在就不一样了。In the past it used to be more relaxing; now things are different.
E.g. Object of presosition 跟: 你还跟以前一样。 [phr] You are still the same as before.
E.g. Modify another noun: 他是我以前的同事。 [phr] He is my former coworker.

2. 以前 can be used after a point/ a period of time referring to something happened in the past; it can used after a point of time referring to something that's going to happen in the future. 曾经 cannot be used in these ways:
E.g.
三点半以前 [phr] before 3 o'clock
三年以前 [phr] three years ago
她妈妈不让她在十八岁以前与异性朋友交往。 [phr] Her mother didn't allow her to make male friends before eighteen.

3. 曾经 and 以前 can both be the adverbial adjunct of a sentence. They can both appear after the subject the before the predicate:
E.g.
我以前做过销售经理。 [phr] I used to work as a sales manager.
We can also say: 我曾经做过销售经理。
lisaC
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