Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 10: 17/22

以前(いぜん)

Before, Not even, Before even, Precede, Far from

Structure

Noun(1) + 以前(いぜん)(に)
Noun(1) (A) + 以前(いぜん) + + Noun (B)

(1) A(2) + (Antonym) A(2), Verb (A) + Verb (A)[ない](2)
(2) [な]Adjective、[い]Adjective

Details

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About 以前

When used as a suffix, the noun 以前(いぜん) ‘preceding’, or ‘prior to’ will indicate that a topic is being brought forward as not even fulfilling the minimum requirements of (A), and therefore is expected to be reached before that minimum. Often, this will come across as ‘before even (A)’ in English, and is used to criticize something that is thoughtless or irresponsible.
以前(いぜん) will appear directly after another nouns, the dictionary form of verbs, い-Adjectives, or な-Adjectives. In most cases, 以前(いぜん) will be followed by either the case-marking particle に or の, depending on whether it is being linked to a subsequent verb or noun.
  • (ひと)のことを心配(しんぱい)する以前(いぜん)自分(じぶん)心配(しんぱい)をしろ!
    Before worrying about others, worry about yourself!
  • それは(ふる)いか(あたら)しいか以前(いぜん)問題(もんだい)だと(おも)う。
    I think that is a problem before worrying about whether it is new or old.
  • 安全(あんぜん)危険(きけん)以前(いぜん)、それは法律(ほうりつ)(きん)じられているので(ため)すこともできません。
    Before whether it is safe or dangerous, that is forbidden by law, so you will not even be able to try it.
  • (まえ)結婚(けっこん)できないのは(かお)以前(いぜん)問題(もんだい)だよ。お(まえ)性格(せいかく)(わる)すぎる。
    Your face is far from the reason you cannot get married. You have a bad personality.
The word 以前(いぜん) itself is usually reserved for highlighting larger distances in the past than (まえ) ‘before’ by itself, and can therefore simply be thought of as an emphatic version of (まえ). This emphasis is often what gives rise to the tone of criticism. As it is stating that ‘way before (A), (B)’, or ‘long before you even think of (A), (B)’.

Examples

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    ポイ()法律(ほうりつ)いぜん道義(どうぎ)(てき)問題(もんだい)

    When it comes to littering, before even the law, it is a moral issue.

    (かれ)自分(じぶん)(おんな)()にモテないファッションださからだと(おも)ってるそれ事実(じじつ)だけどそれいぜん問題(もんだい)として、(かれ)性格(せいかく)問題(もんだい)がある

    He believes that he is not popular with girls due to his bad fashion sense. While that is true, preceding even that, he has issues with his personality.

    (しん)じる(しん)ないいぜんもっと根本(こんぽん)(てき)問題(もんだい)なんだ()どうにか彼女(かのじょ)この(こと)(つた)なきゃ

    Before whether she believes it or not, there is a more fundamental issue. To start, I must somehow convey this to her.

    ()ずに「ブロッコリー(きら)」という(ひと)います()(きら)いぜんに、()てみること大事(だいじ)なのです()(うえ)()(きら)自由(じゆう)

    There are even people who say 'I don't like brocolli', without having eaten it. Before being nitpicky, what's important is to try it. Upon eating it, then feel free to be fussy.

    パフォーマンスいぜん問題(もんだい)で、基本(きほん)(てき)機能(きのう)実装(じっそう)する必要(ひつよう)があります

    Preceding the performance issue, it is necessary to equip it with basic functionality.

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