Student or Learner
Why can't you use before in the below? Is "below" always for figurative places, never for concrete positions?
ex)There was a large crowd in front of(before) the City Hall.
I'll disagree with engee. I would call this usage archaic, not formal. It would have been formal in the 19th century.
I may be wrong though. Perhaps "before" is still used this way by some people--I'll be glad to know.
8. If someone is before something, they are in front of it. (FORMAL)
They drove through a tall iron gate and stopped before a large white villa.
(c) HarperCollins Publishers.
A criminal might appear before a judge, but I would not say a crowd of people were "before" a building.
Example, if I was driving a car and someone was giving me directions and they told me to stop "before" the post office, I would not think they meant to stop right in front of it!
I think the point is that there are idiomatic uses of "before" to mean "in front of" but the word is not used in general with that meaning.
I would have thought this forum is about all of the areas of English, and not just what some think is right as far as they are concerned.