Use of Antes and Dantes?

I was happily using the adverb Antes in conversation and emails, , then came across the word Dantes in an article that I was attempting to translate. According to my dictionary they both have the same meaning.(before).
Are they interchangeable, is Dantes a contraction ( de antes?) or are there different circumstances where you would use one or the other of them?

Olá, @dianepeake49. Good question!

Dantes is indeed a contraction of de + antes, but it’s still a synonym of antes when used in the sense of “in the past” or “back then; at that time”. Other uses of antes are not applicable to dantes. Also, while antes can be paired with other words, dantes is generally used on its own.

  • In the past, I didn’t like soup
    Antes, eu não gostava de sopa. :white_check_mark:
    Dantes, eu não gostava de sopa. :white_check_mark:

  • Nothing is like before
    Nada é como antes. :white_check_mark:
    Nada é como dantes. :white_check_mark:

  • Before leaving, I’m going to eat
    Antes de sair, vou comer. :white_check_mark:
    Dantes de sair, vou comer. :x: (dantes doesn’t go well with other words)

  • Better happy than sad
    Antes feliz do que triste! :white_check_mark:
    Dantes feliz do que triste! :x: (dantes can’t be used in this sense)

  • I’ll finish as soon as possible
    Vou acabar o quanto antes! :white_check_mark:
    Vou acabar o quanto dantes! :x: (dantes also can’t be used in this sense or any other sense other than the one above)

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Thanks for a really helpful explanation, Joseph. :smiley: