“他走到美兰的面前”和“他走到美兰的前面” 都可以说吗？有什么区别？I’m confused. Mianqian sounds better.
我不是老師還有我的中文不太好，但是我覺得“前面”是比較合適，因為 he preceded/walked in front of Meilan, presumably heading in the same direction. I think (I’m guessing here) if Meilan was standing there and he stood in front of Meilan, maybe 面前 would be more appropriate.
It kind of depends on what you want to describe. Are you wanting to make sure the listener knows that this person walkers into your 面前-presence, or do you want the to the to know that they walked in front of you前面(before your face).
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“他走到美兰的面前”. Would be translated by me as “He walked right in front of her face.”
Whereas, “他走到美兰的前面” would be translated as “He walked in front of her.”
Same basic meaning, but there is a specific difference in tone and specificity.
“面前” refers to a face-to-face encounter, which, though similar, is not quite the same as “前面“ which is a more generalized “In front of.” The Chinese 前面 as is the English “in front of” is broader less specific area without the close-up connotations that “面前“ implies.
So, 他走到他的面前 (He walked right in front of her face) seems to imply a certain level of surprise in the action of somebody who might not be expected to be seen in front of that particular person, a noticeable difference in tone from the generic 他走到他的前面（He walked past her (in front of)).
你敢在警察面前闖紅燈嗎？Do you dare to run a red light right in front of a cop?
Here “面前“ is used rather than ”前面“ to express that it was brazen and unexpected to do it that way.
@Constance_Fang, what do you think? Can you clarify the Chinese perspective here? I’m an American student of Chinese living in Taiwan, not a teacher of Chinese.
As a native, I found this question is interesting…
@user28880 Grammaticlly both correct. The meanings are different. riceeater explained well.
前面–前‘s面, the front face/side – in front of. Only imply position.
面前–面’s前, face’s front – you go to the place in front of someone’s face, he or she can see you, most probebly you are face to him or her as well. Besides position, you get attention.
他走到美兰的面前, ok, now he got Meilan’s attention, what is he going to do? or say somthing?
jayporta if Meilan was standing there and he stood in front of Meilan, it’s still 前面, unless he is facing to Meilan, get her attention…
@riceeater 你敢在警察面前闖紅燈嗎？Do you dare to run a red light when there is a cop?
This is a good example for 面前 more about attention. The cop doesn’t need to be really behind you, as long as he is somewhere close to the red light cross, he might notice that you run a red light, this is a 面前. or in this case, you can say 眼皮底下