(comparative and superlative of `early') more early than; most early
"a fashion popular in earlier times"; "his earlier work reflects the influence of his teacher"; "Verdi's earliest and most raucous opera"
earlier in time; previously
"I had known her before"; "as I said before"; "he called me the day before but your call had come even earlier"; "her parents had died four years earlier"; "I mentioned that problem earlier"
comparatives of `soon' or `early'
"Come a little sooner, if you can"; "came earlier than I expected"
in the first place, earlier, in the beginning, to begin with, originally(adverb)
"why didn't you tell me in the first place?"
English Synonyms and Antonyms
Antecedent may denote simple priority in time, implying no direct connection between that which goes before and that which follows; as, the striking of one clock may be always antecedent to the striking of another with no causal connection between them. Antecedent and previous may refer to that which goes or happens at any distance in advance, preceding is limited to that which is immediately or next before; an antecedent event may have happened at any time before; the preceding transaction is the one completed just before the one with which it is compared; a previous statement or chapter may be in any part of the book that has gone before; the preceding statement or chapter comes next before without an interval. Previous often signifies first by right; as, a previous engagement. Foregoing is used only of that which is spoken or written; as, the foregoing statements. Anterior, while it can be used of time, is coming to be employed chiefly with reference to place; as the anterior lobes of the brain. Prior bears exclusive reference to time, and commonly where that which is first in time is first also in right; as, a prior demand. Former is used of time, or of position in written or printed matter, not of space in general. We can say former times, a former chapter, etc., but not the former part of a garden; we should say the front part of the garden, the forward car of a train. Former has a close relation, or sharp contrast, with something following; the former always implies the latter, even when not fully expressed, as in Acts i, 1, and Eccles. vii, 10.
Such was the state of things previous to the revolution. [Previous to is often used adverbially, in constructions where previously to would be more strictly correct; as, these arrangements were made previous to my departure.]
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