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Pronunciation : zhī
Meaning :
  1. used between an attribute and the word it modifies. (particle)
  2. used between the subject and the predicate so as to make it nominalized. (particle)
  3. used in place of an objective noun or pronoun. (pro)
Radical : 丿
Strokes : 3
Traditional :
Usage : 71.2%
Common Words / Phrases:
zhī qián
: before; prior to; ago
zhī hòu
: later; after; afterwards; then
zhī jiān
: between; among
zǒng zhī
: in short; in brief; in conclusion; anyway; anyhow
1. Poverty is one of the causes of crime.
pín qióng shì zào chéng fàn zuì de yuán yīn zhī
贫穷 : poverty
: is
造成 : make, cause
犯罪 : crime
: (particle) used after an attribute; of
原因 : reason
: used between an attribute and the word it modifies
: one
2. There is nothing too strange in this vast world.
shì jiè zhī yǒu
世界 : world
: used between the subject and the predicate so as to make it nominalized
: big
: nothing
: strange
: not, will not
: have
3. Take the medicine before bedtime.
zhè yào zài shuì jiào zhī qián chī
: this
: medicine
: at
睡觉 : sleep, sleeping
之前 : before
: eat
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4 thoughts on “之”

    1. Hi Mervin,
      之前 (zhi qian) and 以前 (yi qian) both have the same meaning : before. But the usage is a bit different.

      之前 is often seen in this structure 在。。。之前:

      这药在睡觉之前吃。 or you can say: 这药在睡觉前吃。 (you can omit the the 之)
      在警察赶到之前, …. (Before the police arrived, …)
      五月之前,… (Before end of May, …)
      你走之前喊他一声。 (Give him a shout before you go.)
      十二点半之前赶回去还吃得上饭。 (If we get back before twelve thirty, we won’t be too late for lunch.)

      以前 means before or previously in a general sense.
      You can use 以前 instead of 之前 in some of the above sentences.

      好久以前 (a long time ago), but we seldom say 好久之前
      我以前总去打篮球。 but we seldom say 我之前总去打篮球。 which has a different meaning.

      Most of the time you can use 之前 (zhi qian) and 以前 (yi qian) interchangeable. But some of the terms or phrases we will use 之前 instead of 以前 and vice versa. It is difficult for me to list out all. I think the only way is to read more.

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