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Understanding Clauses of Time

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Adverbs of time: when, after, before, as soon as, until

Form: Clauses of time + will / going to

I will call you when I get to the post office

She will turn off the lights after she finishes work

They will start playing as soon as the rain stops

I am going to finish this work before I go out

  • We can also use Present Perfect with after or when

When / After I have found a job, I will look for a flat

When using clauses of time, it is important to understand how they function in relation to the main clause. Adverbs of time such as “when,” “after,” “before,” “as soon as,” and “until” help establish the timing or sequence of events in a sentence.

  1. “When” is used to indicate a specific time or event that will trigger the action in the main clause. It is often followed by a simple present tense verb. For example:
    • “I will call you when I get to the post office.”
    • “When the clock strikes midnight, the fireworks will begin.”
  2. “After” is used to show that the action in the main clause will occur subsequent to the completion of the action in the subordinate clause. It is followed by a simple present tense verb. For example:
    • “She will turn off the lights after she finishes work.”
    • “After I eat dinner, I will go for a walk.”
  3. “Before” indicates that the action in the main clause will take place prior to the occurrence of the action in the subordinate clause. It is followed by a simple present tense verb. For example:
    • “I am going to finish this work before I go out.”
    • “Before he goes to bed, he brushes his teeth.”
  4. “As soon as” emphasizes that the action in the main clause will happen immediately after the action in the subordinate clause. It is followed by a simple present tense verb. For example:
    • “They will start playing as soon as the rain stops.”
    • “As soon as I finish writing this email, I will send it.”

Additionally, the present perfect tense can be used with “when” or “after” to indicate that the action in the subordinate clause has been completed before the action in the main clause takes place. For example:

  • “When I have found a job, I will look for a flat.”
  • “After I have finished my studies, I plan to travel the world.”

Using these clauses of time helps provide clarity and precision in expressing the chronological order of events in sentences.

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