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Difference in use of words having similar meaning

Hi, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this: I have a difficulty when it comes to using 之前 and i wanted to know how it differs in use from 以前. My second doubt is : 可怜和可惜的差别。Although several people have alrady tried explaining it to me i still havent managed to get a good grasp over their use.

以前, generally refers to long time ago (several years ago----hundreds year ago)
之前, last time

可怜, poor/pitiful
我可怜的女儿------my poor daughter
可惜了, pity
真是可惜了------what a pity.