Using Adverb Clauses with Time Expressions
These type of clauses are often called “time clauses” in English grammar books and follow specific patterns. Take a look at the chart below to study the various usage of different time expressions.
When an adverb clause begins the sentence use a comma to separate the two clauses. Example: As soon as he arrives, we will have some lunch.. When the adverb clause finishes the sentence there is no need for a comma. Example: He gave me a call when he arrived in town.
For more information about how to use these words click on the link for an explanation of the usage.
Adverb Clauses with Time
||‘When’ means ‘at that moment, at that time, etc.’. Notice the different tenses used in relationship to the clause beginning with when. It is important to remember that ‘when’ takes either the simple past OR the present – the dependent clause changes tense in relation to the ‘when’ clause.|
||‘Before’ means ‘before that moment’. It is important to remember that ‘before’ takes either the simple past OR the present.|
||‘After’ means ‘after that moment’. It is important to remember that ‘after’ takes the present for future events and the past OR past perfect for past events.|
||‘While’ and ‘as’ mean ‘during that time’. ‘While’ and ‘as’ are both usually used with the past continuous because the meaning of ‘during that time’ which indicates an action in progess.|
|By the time||
||‘By the time’ expresses the idea that one event has been completed before another. It is important to notice the use of the past perfect for past events and future perfect for future events in the main clause. This is because of the idea of something happening up to another point in time.|
||‘Until’ and ’till’ express ‘up to that time’. We use either the simple present or simple past with ‘until’ and ’till’. ‘Till’ is usually only used in spoken English.|
||‘Since’ means ‘from that time’. We use the present perfect (continuous) with ‘since’. ‘Since’ can also be used with a specific point in time.|
|As soon as||
||‘As soon as’ means ‘when something happens – immediately afterwards’. ‘As soon as’ is very similar to ‘when’ it emphasizes that the event will occur immediately after the other. We usually use the simple present for future events, although present perfect can also be used.|
|Whenever, every time||
||‘Whenever’ and ‘every time’ mean ‘each time something happens’. We use the simple present (or the simple past in the past) because ‘whenever’ and ‘every time’ express habitual action.|
|The first, second, third, fourth etc., next, last time||
||The first, second, third, fourth etc., next, last time means ‘that specific time’. We can use these forms to be more specific about which time of a number of times something happened.|