posted by rfvv .
1. It is a quarter past seven.
2. It is a quarter after seven.
3. It is a quart to seven.
4. It is a quarter before seven.
(#1 is the same as #2, right? #3 is the same as #4? Why is 'to' used here in #3 instead of 'before'?)
# 1 and 2 are the same.
If 3 is "quarter to seven," then 3 and 4 are the same. We don't usually use # 4, though.
For this meaning, "to" and "before" have the same meaning.
As a native English speaker, I can't really explain all of the nuances of our prepositions.