Linguaphile wrote:...and the advertisement with details has been posted on the bulletin board in front of the restaurant."
vs in front of
If the bulletin board is on the wall of the restaurant, I guess I should only say the bulletin board is in front of
But if the bulletin board is an independent architectural structure located next to the restaurant, then I guess both in front of the restaurant
and before the restaurant
Am I right or wrong? Thank you in advance for your reply.
This one is honestly a bit tricky for a native speaker to explain, because some of the nuances come from a sense of "it just sounds right".
"Before" and "in front of" can
be synonyms, but they aren't exactly the same (at least not in my own usage).
I would not make the distinction you described above (about the bulletin board being on the wall of the restaurant versus an independent architectural structure).
For locations, "in front of" always works.
For time, "before" always works.
In terms of using "before" when referring to locations, here is how I use it:
(1) If I am giving directions, I might say something like "the bulletin board is before the restaurant" and in that situation I actually mean it in a time-related sense: if you are walking or driving or whatever, you will arrive at the bulletin board before
(in time!) arriving at the restaurant.
(2) If one thing is directly facing another, then I can use "before" to mean "in front of". For example, "The restaurant stands before me." (I am facing the restaurant, looking at it, and it is in front of me.) "He has to go before the judge." (He has to go to court and meet with the judge; he will be standing in front of the judge's chair, either literally or metaphorically). Or your own example from your next post: "Tom appeared before us again". This is also correct.
It seems to me that I only use "before" in this way when there is a person involved or, more specifically, a person's face facing (and most likely looking at) the thing that is "before". I think this is why I would not say "the bulletin board is before the restaurant" when I want to say that it is in front of the restaurant. There is no person involved in that sentence, and no face, and so it just doesn't "sound right" to say it. I could say "the bulletin board is before me
I believe that in more archaic English, "before" was used more widely as a general synonym for "in front of".
It would not surprise me if some English speakers still use it that way.
I do not.