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‘Pre’ vs ‘Post’: What’s the Difference?

Shaun Connell
September 8, 2023

Do you need to know the difference between 'pre' vs. 'post?' If so, I can help!

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Pre' is a prefix that means before.
  • 'Post' is a prefix that means after. 
  • 'Post' is also a verb, noun, and adverb. 

'Pre' and 'post' are frequently used in the English language. It is essential to understand how to use them correctly. So, keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know.

What is the Difference Between 'Pre' vs. 'Post?'

'Pre' and 'post' are both prefixes, which means they are added to the beginning of words to change their meanings. 'Pre' is added to terms to indicate that they happened before an event or something else occurred. 'Post' is added to words to show that the base word occurred after something else.

The first term is only used as a 'prefix.' However, 'post' can be a verb, noun, adverb, and prefix. When it is used as a noun, it means a building that is used to keep horses used to deliver mail, a postal service, a notice posted in a public place, an article on a blog, or a pillar that supports something.

As a verb, it means to 'post' something or put something on a 'post.' As an adverb, it means express.

When to Use 'Pre' vs. 'Post'

You learned that 'pre' and 'post' are both prefixes, but do you know when and how to use them? 

Here are some tips for using 'pre' vs. 'post': 

  • Use 'pre' as a prefix to change the meaning of words like a preface, precaution, preheat, and preflight.

For example, I might say:

She wrote a post on her anonymous blog about a weird premonition she had about the future of AI in the 21st century.

  • Use 'post' as a prefix to indicate that something comes after something else.

So, someone might say:

Many women suffer from a mild form of postpartum depression a few days after they have a baby called 'baby blues.' 

  • Use 'post' as a prefix to indicate that something relates to the postal service.

As an example, you might say:

I want to stop at each destination on our journey to buy postcards to send home. 

  • Use 'post' as a noun for a mail service or station.

So, I might say:

Are you going to send that by post? 

  • Use 'post' as a verb to say that someone is posting a notice or informing people about something.

For example, you could say:

I am so tired of people parking in my spot. I guess I need to post a sign so people know it is reserved. 

  • Use 'post' for a pillar that supports something.

As an example, you might say:

That post looks very unstable. You should make sure it is secure so the house doesn't fall down. 

  • Use 'post' to refer to someone's station.

So, you might hear someone say:

I told you not to leave your post! 

Definition of 'Pre': What Does 'Pre' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'pre' is defined as a prefix that means:

  • Before, earlier than, or prior to
  • Requirements before, prerequisites, or preparation for
  • Before or in advance
  • Anterior or in front of

Synonyms and Words Containing 'Pre'

  • Preface
  • Present
  • Prepare
  • Preserve
  • Prenuptial
  • Premarital
  • Precaution
  • Preventative

Definition of 'Post': What Does 'Post' Mean?

The same dictionary defines 'post' as a prefix that means:

  • Later than, after, or subsequent
  • Posterior or behind
  • Following
  • After or subsequent to
  • In a posterior position

'Post' can also be a noun that means:

  • A piece of metal or wood that supports a post
  • A goal post
  • A passing play in American football in which the receiver runs downfield and then turns toward the middle of the field
  • A metallic component on electrical devices that gives them the ability to make connections
  • The stem on an earring
  • A mail carrier service
  • A dispatch of mail
  • The place where someone is stationed
  • A position someone is appointed
  • A place where things are traded

'Post' can also be a verb that means:

  • To put something up
  • To assign to a position, location, or unit
  • To travel hurriedly
  • To carry information from an original record to a ledger
  • To inform or educate on a matter

'Post' can also be an adverb that means:

  • Express or hurriedly

Synonyms and Words Containing 'Post'

  • Mail
  • Letter
  • Correspondence
  • Message
  • Package
  • Card
  • Inform
  • Notify
  • Job
  • Duty
  • Station
  • Assignment
  • Unit
  • Column
  • Pillar
  • Beam
  • Station
  • Depot

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Pre' vs. 'Post'

Knowing the pronunciation of words like 'pre' and 'post' is imperative for English speakers because there are many words that start with these prefixes. Plus, learning proper pronunciation helps you improve your grammar and writing skills.

So, here is a guide for pronouncing 'pre' vs. 'post.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'pre':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'post':


Sample Sentences Using 'Pre' vs. 'Post'

Now, read these sample sentences using 'pre' vs. 'post.' They will help you to learn how to use these terms in different contexts.


  • We waited to take off while the pilot completed his preflight checklist.
  • If you get tired in the middle of your workouts, you should try a pre-workout energy drink.
  • You have to take precautions when you have boarders living in your home.
  • Will you sign a prenuptial agreement before you exchange your marital vows?


  • It is challenging for inactive people to keep their posterior muscles in shape.
  • Can you send it by letter post or does it need to go by parcel post?
  • Writing a post is easier than many people think.
  • The real estate writer wrote about the legal requirements of landlords to post notices required in their jurisdictions.
  • Your posterior muscles are on the back of your body, and the anterior muscles are on the front.


  • You have to post notices in accordance with the law to prevent unnecessary delays during the eviction process.
  • I want to prepare you. We might have to postpone our journey.

A Last Look at 'Pre' vs. 'Post'

We went over a ton of information about 'pre' vs. 'post.' So, let's do a quick recap:

  • 'Pre' is a prefix that means before or ahead of something. 
  • 'Post' is a prefix that means after or following something. 
  • 'Post' is also a verb, noun, and adverb that has numerous meanings.  

Prefixes and terms like these confuse many people. That is why we publish guides like these that explain the difference between commonly mistaken and misused terms.

So, if you want to become the best freelance writer you can be, check out a few of our other grammar guides for writers before you leave.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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