Now, Before and After – Time Relationships

Here are a few ways to express how a certain date or time relates to another:

Current Time

agora now is the term we use when we’re referring to the present. O filme vai começar agora. The movie will start now.
Agora está muito frio. Now it's very cold.

Previous and Future Time

Here’s how we refer to the past or future:
antes before and depois after
Vou sair antes das 10h. I will leave before 10am.
A loja está fechada depois das 21h. The store is closed after 9pm. Antes and depois are particularly useful when we’re ordering several events by time.
Escovo os dentes depois de jantar e antes de ir dormir. I brush my teeth after having dinner and before going to sleep.
We can also use mais cedo earlier and mais tarde later.

Choosing The Best Way To Express the Past or Future

To check if you’re using the correct word, you can often refer to the literal English translations of these time-related sentences, as they are often similar. (Just don’t tell your Portuguese teacher!)
For example:

Incorrect: Tenho de começar a acordar antes I have to start waking up before.

Correct: Tenho de começar a acordar mais cedo I have to start waking up earlier.

The first sentence, ending with before, feels incomplete. It raises the question “before what?”. Therefore, the second sentence sounds, and is, correct.

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