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What's the difference between using "Прежде чем я ушёл...." and "До того как я ушёл"? I'm fascinated by fine nuances and idiosyncracies and I have noticed that kavkaz people seem to favor "зачем" instead of "почему" (and some other things when they use mat). Do any of the other former republics have any peculiarities that distinguish themselves from Russian speakers actually from Russia? (like how Ukrainians will say "шо /шё" instead oh "что / чё"). Any help would be greatly appreciated. I mean no disrespect to anyone and truly value any insider insight.

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    Is your question about differences between "прежде чем" and "до того как" or about other peculiarities? – Abakan Oct 7 '16 at 22:43
  • Yes. I'm not a native and I have no idea when to use which one over the other one. I just guess and alternate between the two whenever I try to write sentences or whenever I am speaking. – Штефан Oct 7 '16 at 22:55
  • The question was twofold since I "tried to kill 2 birds with 1 stone". I'm new to this site and wasn't exactly sure about the protocol here in regard to asking questions and if I'm limited as far as what i can ask and/or how much I can ask at any one given time. Thank you again for your help, by the way. – Штефан Oct 7 '16 at 22:56
  • @Штефан, each question here may contain either a single question, or several closely related questions, sharing the same topic, which actually are comfortable to be answered together. If there is no explicit connection between the questions (like in this case), it's better to create two (or more) separate questions to make it clear what exactly you are asking for and avoid confusion in the answers. – Lara Oct 7 '16 at 23:20
  • @V.V., the second part is not about different languages, it's about variations of Russian language in speech of people belonging to different nations. So it seems OK for this site. But not as a second part of this question, but as a new one. – Lara Oct 8 '16 at 18:15
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This answer is for the first question, about the difference between "прежде чем" and "до того, как". All the rest is to be moved to a seperate question, because the topics are really different.

До того, как is used just to express that some event happened before the other one. Examples:

  • Дождь начался еще до того, как я вышел из дома.

    It started to rain before I left my home.

  • До того, как я пришел, ничего интересного не происходило.

    Nothing interesting was going on before I came.

Прежде чем is used when there is a sequence of interconnected actions, where one preceeds (or should preceed) the other because of certain reason, not just randomly, and the fact of interconnection is important for the speaker. For example:

  • Она погасила свет, прежде чем лечь спать.

    She turned off the light before going to bed.

  • Прежде чем жарить картошку, нужно налить масла на сковороду.

    The pan should be oiled before frying potatoes.

  • Дважды подумай, прежде чем лезть в драку!

    Think twice before putting up a fight!

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