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English - adverbial clauses of time

It's about adverbial clauses again - but this time, clauses of time.

These clauses simply give a time for something which is described in a sentence. It is also to do with tenses, of course, but you are easily able to use the correct word form for past, present and future tenses.

Again, in every language, we talk using these, probably every day. So although you might not know the proper name, you have certainly used them :)

How we can identify - or spot - an adverbial clause of time.
Simply look for a clause which contains a reference to ‘time’.

Not all 'time' words are like '2 pm' or 'the afternoon'.

Some time words are in a different tense, or a reference to time.

Here are some examples:

• Do not talk while she is singing.
In this case, the time word is while, which forms the adverbial clause of time while she is singing. The word while is a present continuous word for some period of time which is happening now; as in - listen while I am talking.

Another example:
• When I command this ship, there will be good discipline.
The time word is when; in this case it refers to the future; as in - When I am older, I would hate to be an online teacher

Another example:
• He came after night had fallen.
After is the time word, and refers to (in this sentence) a past tense time when night had come.

This is another example of past tense time:
• After the law was passed, this type of crime ceased.

• Do it before you forget.
With this one, before is the time word and is present continuous.

• Before you go, bring me some water.
Again this is present continuous tense, with before as the time word.

• I have not been well, since I returned from New York.
Since in this context is a time word, because it means in the period between two events, and of course, it's past tense.

The next example is present continuous:
• There was silence as the leader spoke - and the word as plays the part of a time word, meaning events at the same time

• As he came into the room, all rose to their feet.
Another example of present continuous, with as referring to the 'now’.

• The Doctor always comes whenever he is sent for.
Clearly 'whenever' is a time word and it means 'any time'.

In this next example, a contraction is used:
• They were commanded to wait till the signal was given.
'till' means until and that, as you know, means that an event will occur.

and finally:

• As soon as he heard the news he wrote to me.

'soon' being the time word, and the clause as soon as means an action occurs when someone becomes aware of an event.


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