"Мы долго думали, перед тем как задать этот вопрос."

Translation:We thought a long time before asking this question.

3 years ago

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kpagcha
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I don't get the перед тем как construction as "before".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Mod
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If you are familiar with the formal English structure "that which", the Russian one is roughly the same.

  • Мне не понравилось то, что я услышал. = I did not like that which I heard. (sounds quite stiff in today's English)

Перед is originally a preposition (a prototypal preposition, actually,—it has been a preposition for a really long time), and you would expect it to stand before a noun or something that acts like noun. Also, it requires the Instrumental—an infinitive of a verb cannot provide you that.

So you use то as a noun-like pronoun and как as a conjunction to introduce a clause that specifies the reference point of "before". Together, they form a compound conjunction «перед тем как».

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/newguy25

Igor, can we also say "перед того как"?

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Mod
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We cannot because перед does not take the Genitive. It requires the Instrumental form.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yashamax

Why is the infinitive used here? I thought it should be здали или задали

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch
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Just remember, "before ... -ing" = перед тем как OR прежде чем + infinitive. "прежде чем", however, can also be followed by the past tense form (прежде чем задали) with no difference in meaning.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lagolas2010

As a native speaker, I see no difference between "перед тем как задать" and "перед тем, как задали" but I think that "задать" is more correct here as it is answering the question "перед тем, как что сделать?" = "Перед тем, как задать"

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phozzonunnium
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Why is перед тем как used here instead of до того как ?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch
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До того как makes up for the lack of the Past Perfect tense in Russian. The phrase is used to introduce events that had happened before a particular event in the past, e.g. До того, как переехать в Чикаго, он жил в Нью-Йорке (Before he moved to Chicago, he had lived in New York city). Using "до того, как" is a must when the time gap between the two events is indicated: за час до того, как позвонить мне = an hour before calling me

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertGeor16
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Thanks for your careful answers. You're a good teacher.

18 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kyashtyur
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They are approximately the same in meaning, but до того как is more like "until"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keinemeinung
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If I understand right, перед тем can also imply a smaller amount of time before the action was taken, where as до того is more general.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NadavHollander

Would the proper translation be something like "We were thinking for a long time before asking this question"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SnakeBelmont
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Duolingo should provide those translations.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stano1221
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We had been thinking a long time before asking this question?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roman_Key
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Why is this one not accepted?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/n9yty
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Maybe because had been thinking is a past completed action and would need a perfective form?

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch
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Perfective verbs do not collocate with «долго». It would be correct to say, «Мы хорошо подумали перед тем, как задать вопрос» (literally, “We thought well before asking the question”), but “had been thinking” is Past Perfect Continuous (aka Past Perfect Progressive), which is used to emphasize the duration of a past action that started prior to another past action. Given that thinking was no longer in progress at the moment of asking the question, I would chose to use simple Past Continuous (“We we were thinking for a long time”) instead of the Past Perfect Continuous, but it is up to native speakers of English to decide which tense is more appropriate here.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Henry132109

Why как instead of что or когда is used here?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch
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"Перед тем как + infintive" (=before + -ing-form) and "после того как + subject + verb in the past tense" (= after + -ing-form) are set expressions in Russian. The word "когда" does not occur in them as they themselves answer the "when" question. When it is followed by как, the neuter demonstrative pronoun то in any of its forms inluding the oblique case forms (того, тому, тем, о том) usually refers to a manner in which an action is performed or the result of an action, e.g. Мне нравится то, как он это делает. (= I like the way he does it.) Всё зависит от того, как он сдаст экзамен. (=All depends on his exam result.). However, in "перед тем как" and "после того как" "то как" refers to an event rather than the time or manner. "То, что" is the equivalent of "what". Cf. Мне нравится то, что он делает (=I like what he is doing / what he does.) Всё зависит от того, что он мне скажет. (=All depends on what he will tell me).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/n9yty
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for a long time is not accepted? I wouldn't say thought a long time usually, 'for' is part of that phrase in my speech.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ULRICHSCHL4

What I doi not understand is that "как" means "how". Wouldn't it be "We thought along time how to ask this questuion"?

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keinemeinung
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Phrases like "pered tem, kak" (right before something), "do togo, kak" (generally some time before something) and "posle togo, kak" (after something) are set phrases to express time and as you see are used with verbs.

You can just use the preposition if using the noun. So for example...

"Do togo, kak nachat' etot protsess..."

Or "Do nachala etogo protsessa..."

can both work in many cases.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch
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Apart from “how”, «как» has other meanings: «такой ... как»=“such ... as”, «как X, так и Y» = “both X and Y”, «как» may also mean “like” or “the way [of doing something]”. «перед тем, как + infinitive» = “before ...-ing”. There are lots of other set phrases with как.

5 days ago
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