How are they different? Here's what I'm thinking, but I'm not sure....
If you use pre-incrementation, for example in a for loop with ++j, then you are basically saying: "Make a copy of the value of j for use in the loop, then increment j, then go through the statements in the loop with the copy of j." If you are using post-incrementation in the same loop j++, then you are basically saying: "Make a copy of the value of j for use in the loop, then go through the statements in the loop with the copy of j, then increment j."
The reason I'm unsure is because I've created a for loop that multiplies the value of j by 10 and then outputs the result for j=1 through j=12, using both post- and pre-incrementation. The human readable output is exactly the same with post- and pre-incrementation. I'm thinking, 'How are the outputs exactly the same if there isn't some kind of copy operation involved?'
So, I'm guessing the difference between pre- and post-incrementation truly becomes important, in php, when I use references (which act as pointers in php) rather than names for return values? This would be because copies of references aren't made, so pre-incrementation would be: "Increment j, then go through the statements in the loop with the changed value of j, then increment j again...," whereas post-incremetation would look like: "Use the value of j for the statements in the loop, then change the value of j, then go through the loop with the new value of j..."