Innan vs. före
So I'm learning the prepositions and the conjonctions and I have a question about innan and före. Both seem to mean "before" but what is the difference ? Is innan for the time-related before and före for the space-related before ? Or something else ?
Tack för din hjälp :)
They are quite funny words. Their meanings have been changing on and off for half a millenium now!
I'd say you can generally use both as synonymous prepositions, especially in everyday speech. Personally, I use före as a preposition (e.g. före frukosten - before breakfast), and innan as a subjunction (e.g. innan vi äter frukost - before we eat breakfast). This has been the prevalent prescriptive method throughout most of the 20th centure, and I like the challenge of trying to speak "correctly".
But to be honest, the reason it's been taught as correct is mostly that the Stockholm dialect makes this distinction, while less trendy dialects don't.
No, sorry, late night brainfart - I meant subjunction, not subjunctive. Although I would very much like to reintroduce det gamla hederliga konjunktivet in Swedish :)
The further south you go, the more likely people are to use innan as a subjunction rather than as a preposition, in a sentence construction where they could go either way. There are certainly exceptions everywhere though. And to be honest, I'm not 100 % sure which source I got that from, so the info could be a few decades old.