Antecedent vs Precedent
Though antecedent and precedent both refer to past events or actions, they are not synonyms and have different meanings. The Oxford English dictionary defines “antecedent” as a thing that existed before or precedes another, while “precedent” is defined as an earlier event or action that serves as an example or guide. This article aims to provide a basic understanding of the two terms and emphasize the difference between antecedent and precedent.
- Antecedent refers to something that precedes another, while precedent refers to an earlier event that serves as an example or guide for future decisions.
- An antecedent can be used as a noun or an adjective, and in grammar, it is the earlier word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers.
- Precedent can also be used as a noun or an adjective, and in law, it refers to a previous case or legal decision that may or must be followed in subsequent similar cases.
What is an Antecedent?
Antecedent is used as a noun and an adjective. As a noun, an antecedent means something that precedes another. As an adjective, it refers to preceding in time or order. In grammar, it is used as an earlier word, phrase or clause to which a pronoun refers to. For example, in the sentence “Jane told me that she’d be late for class,” the antecedent is “Jane”, and the pronoun “she” refers to Jane. The antecedent gives meaning to the pronoun, but it does not have to come before the pronoun in all instances.
What is a Precedent?
Precedent can also be used as a noun or as an adjective. As a noun, it generally means an earlier event which serves as an example. When it is used as an adjective, it refers to preceding in time, order and importance. In law, the word precedent has a rather specific meaning, referring to a previous case or legal decision that may or must be followed in subsequent similar cases. For example, lawyers may use past cases as precedent for a current case.
What is the difference between Antecedent and Precedent?
In summary, antecedent and precedent both refer to preceding events or actions, but they serve different purposes. An antecedent is a mere referent to preceding events, while a precedent has a broader role, acting as an example or guide for future decisions.