leave beforehand

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

I asked my friend for dinner, he said he could make it but he wasn't he could stay with us till the dinner finished. He said he had a class in the evening.

I then said:

You leave beforehand. (You should leave without waiting the end of the dinner because you have a class)

Is it okay to say so?

Thanks a lot
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with Vic that "beforehand" isn't the correct word.

    You can leave early if you want/like.

    Nobody was surprised when Peter left while the party was in full swing. I had warned the other guests beforehand that my friend would have to leave early.

     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I asked my friend for dinner, he said he could make it but he wasn't he couldn't stay with us till the dinner finished to the end. He said he had a class in the evening.

    I then said:

    You leave beforehand.
    Without any other context, this sounds a little strange. In order to be idiomatic, there would have to be a specific time at which the dinner ended

    Usually, "beforehand" means "Ahead of something in time, in advance; in anticipation of, or in a way connected with, a later event."[OED] but the event is usually specific/precise/well-defined.

    I would have expected:
    "Yes, that's fine - I'm glad you can come. The dinner will end at 10 pm. You leave beforehand by all means."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "You leave beforehand" would mean "You leave before the dinner starts". You need to say "leave early" or "leave in the middle", or use "beforehand" right after mentioning the end of the meal, as #4 suggests.

    Also, you need to say "you can leave" or "it is okay if you leave", not "you leave". Saying "you leave" is giving him a command.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Also, you need to say "you can leave"
    In BE, and maybe in AE, with a certain tone, as if naturally dismissing any tentativeness in the other speaker and encouraging him, "can" is not required.

    In the circumstances, the friend has a perfect and understandable reason for leaving and Silver may wish to dispel any idea that his friend's leaving is, in some way disappointing:

    A: "Here - help yourself to those apples in the boxes over there - take as many as you want."
    B: "Thanks - do you mind if I take a complete box?"
    A: "No. Of course not! You take as many boxes as you want!"
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    An imperative with "you" is usually possible, and it can sound encouraging or concerned.

    You just make sure you keep warm and take your medicine. You take care now.

    I don't think it's approriate for Silver's sentence. For one thing, this is probably not being said at the moment the friend decides to leave. I would approve of this:

    - Sorry Silver, but I have to leave - something urgent cropped up.
    - Of course, don't worry; you leave now - I'll explain to the other guests.
     
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