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Your English: Word grammar: front

Type: Article

There’s good news on the Your English front as Tim Bowen dissects some more useful word grammar.

The word front is most commonly used as a noun and in expressions like in front of. It does, however, function in two other ways – as a verb and as an adjective.

As a verb, front means to be the leader or main representative of a group. This could be in business, as in ‘The business has the support of a financial consortium fronted by a leading industrialist’, in music, as in ‘I’d love to front my own rock band’ or in broadcasting, notably television, as in ‘He made his name fronting a series of popular quiz shows’.

As an adjective, front is used with a variety of nouns such as front room, front row, front teeth and front seat but it can also be used to mean ‘intended to hide an illegal or secret activity’, as in ‘Arms exports were conducted secretly using a number of front organizations’.

Apart from its most common uses as a noun, front can also be used to describe behaviour that is not sincere because you want to hide your real feelings, as in ‘He always pretended he didn’t care about what happened to his children but all the time it was just a front’. It is also used to refer to a particular aspect of a situation, as in ‘I’m afraid there’s some bad news on the job front’ and ‘His main problems were with maths and science but he’s made progress on both fronts’. In Britain, the word front is often used as a shortened form of seafront, as in ‘Let’s go for a walk along the front’.

The expression up front means with payment made before goods or services are provided or work is started, as in ‘I’ll need a couple of thousand up front for the cost of the materials’.

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