Student or Learner
Is before used for a figurative situation while in front of is for concrete places?
ex)He swore before(in front of) the judge that what he said was true.
If you replace before with in front of, what is the difference?
"Before" is not usually used to talk about places. Your sentence is one of the few exceptions. I agree that this usage may be understood as figurative. "In front of" would mean exactly the same in this example.
The following are three translations of the same passage from the Bible, Luke 12:58.
New American Standard Bible"For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
International Standard VersionFor example, when you go with your opponent in front of a ruler, do your best to settle with him on the way there. Otherwise, you will be dragged in front of the judge, and the judge will hand you over to an officer, and the officer will throw you into prison.
New Living TranslationWhen you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison.
Last edited by birdeen's call; 14-Feb-2011 at 22:18.