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‘Before’, Not ‘In Front of’

One constantly hears speakers of American English confusing the word ‘before’ in the transferred spatial sense (e.g., “appear before the court”) with the phrase ‘in front of”, substituting the latter for the former. This is a gross stylistic error that goes against a long normative tradition and should be expunged. It doubtless stems from diminishing experience with written texts and constant exposure to speakers with a less-than-normative command of their native language.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO

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