'Before' & 'Earlier' instead of 'previously'

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  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Both words? "&" means "and". I assume you mean "or".

    Both "before" and "earlier" have similar meanings, but can't be used in this place in this sentence.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It could mean the same (at an earlier date) or it could mean in the recent past, e.g. earlier in the day/in the previous week.

    It depends on the context, which is not given.
     
    Last edited:

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Museums and art galleries which had been open to the public earlier."

    It's the same as the others: it could mean yesterday, last week, last month, last year, etc. There is no specific length of time implied by any of these terms.

    Edit: the "earlier" phrase can even mean "earlier that same day".
     

    Dear life

    Senior Member
    India- Bengali
    By the way, doesn't 'had been open' indicate that 'previously' here means 'in the past'...like- then (after something happened) it was not kept open to the public?
    Also,
    The google search also provides its synonyms as 'formerly', 'in the past' etc.
    Could you please help!! :confused:
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    By the way, doesn't 'had been open' indicate that 'previously' here means 'in the past'...like- then (after something happened) it was not kept open to the public?
    Also,
    The google search also provides its synonyms as 'formerly', 'in the past' etc.
    Could you please help!! :confused:
    Yes, that is how I would read it. But as the others have said - without actual context there are other possibilities. I would not swap in "earlier" or "before" because both of them seem less precise than "previously" if we are going to read it as you suggest.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    In this context "previously" means they used to be open to the public, but now are not.
    While "earlier" could mean that, it also could mean the museums open early but don't stay open late.

    So a situation where the museum is open to the public in 2016 and closes to the public in early 2017, I'd use "previously."
    If the museum is open to the public from 8 am till noon, but never later in the day, then "earlier" would work.

    Museums and art galleries which had previously been open to the public lost their funding and had to close.
    Museums and art galleries which had earlier been open to the public were available for private rental in the evenings.

    To make "before" sound right you might need to use "after" later in the sentence. I would also perhaps set it off with commas. It would refer to a specific event causing the change in museum admissions.

    Museums and art galleries which had, before, been open to the public, were afterward only open by appointment.
     
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