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(以前,之前) 和 (放假,节日)有什么区别?


Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:

Good day! this is my second day in using chinesepod and I am starting to really love the site. Can you please help me what is the difference of (以前,之前) 和 (放假,节日)


Hi there Robert! We’re so glad that you like our content!

以前 and 之前 were confusing for me too when I first learnt Chinese. Both are used to refer to things done in the past or to mean ‘before’ , as you probably know. However, 以前 is used for things a long time ago, whereas 之前 is used for the recent past. For example, if you go to the gym once a week and you are trying to talk about the previous week’s session, you would use 之前. You can also use 之前 if you want to say ‘before’ when giving instructions. For example, if you want to say peel the carrots before boiling them. 以前 is for things that happened years ago. For example, this morning my taxi driver used 以前 to talk about how he used to be an advertisement designer 10 years ago.

放假 and 节日 are both used to talk about holidays. However, 节日 is a noun that refers to specific holidays/ festivals such as Chinese New Year, Vesak Day, Christmas, etc. It can be used to refer to one- day celebrations and longer holidays too! 放假 is used to mean time off, which can coincide with a 节日 but doesn’t necessarily come at the same time. You use 放假 to talk about holiday that you take from work or school. 放假 is a verb, for example, you could say that students 放假 for summer holidays.

Hope this helped!


Thanks Aurelia, are these sentence correct?

  1. 我下个月在中国打算去“放假”。
  2. 十二月二十五号是圣诞节“节日”。
  3. 我以前不喜欢喝茶,可是现在很喜欢。
  4. 你先吃饭做作业之前


You’re welcome! I will go through them in order.

  1. This is a good sentence except for two small things. You should say 去 instead of 在 because you will be going to China, you are not already there. I forgot to mention earlier that 放假 is not used to talk about yourself. You use it more to talk about particular people/ institutions. For the sentence you wrote, you can use 度假 dùjià. So you would say 我下个月打算去中国度假。(Sorry to add another type of holiday word!) Here’s an example sentence with 放假:下个礼拜学校会放假。 The school will go on break next week. Here’s another one, talking about people: 医生今天放假了,你明天再来。The doctor is off today, come back tomorrow.
  2. 节日 means festival, so you can’t really say 圣诞节节日 because the 节 in 圣诞节 is short for 节日 so it’s sort of like saying Christmas day day。(This is the same for other holidays, such as halloween, 万圣节). You can just say 十二月二十五号是圣诞节。 If you wanted to use 节日 in a sentence you could say. 我姐姐最喜欢的节日是圣诞节。 My older sister’s favorite holiday is Christmas.
  3. This sentence makes sense! Before (a long time ago) you did not like drinking tea, but now you like it very much.
  4. The elements of this sentence make sense, but you need to reorder it a little. You can say 你做作业之前先吃饭。If you use 之前, you should always put the phrase with 之前 at the beginning of the sentence.