Conjunctions of Time

Conjunctions of time connect two clauses while stating the time. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

What Are Conjunctions of Time in English?

What Are Conjunctions of Time?

Conjunctions of time are words that connect clauses by indicating time relationships between them. These conjunctions are used to show a chronological sequence of events or to link two actions that occur at the same time.

Common Conjunctions of Time

Here are the most common conjunctions of time:

Conjunctions of Time: Uses

Subordinating conjunctions of time are used to introduce a subordinate clause that provides time-related information to the main clause. Either clause can be used as the first clause of the sentence, depending on the emphasis that is desired.

I have been in China since you left.

When I was sixteen, I broke my leg.

'After' and 'Before' as Conjunctions of Time

The conjunctions 'after ' and 'before' are used to indicate the order in which events occur. 'Before' is used to indicate that one event happened earlier in time than another event, while 'after' is used to indicate that one event happened later in time than another event.
When 'before' is used at the beginning of a sentence, it sets up the context for the subsequent clause to describe an event that occurs later in time. In contrast, when 'after' is used at the beginning of a sentence, it sets up the context for the subsequent clause to describe an event that occurs earlier in time.

I graduated after I was nominated for the best actor of the year.

Before she got married, she worked in a bank.

'Before' is used at the beginning of the sentence, indicating that her marriage happened later than working in a bank.

'When' as a Conjunction of Time

The conjunction 'when' is used to indicate the time at which two events occur, often when they happen simultaneously or in close proximity to each other. It can also be used to indicate that one event occurs immediately after another event. Here are the examples:

I was watching TV when you entered. → concur

I got happy when you arrived. → first the person arrived, then the other person got happy

'While' as a Conjunction of Time

When used as a conjunction, 'while' indicates that two events are happening at the same time. It is often used to show a contrast or a comparison between the two events. Here are the examples:

While I was talking to you, she stole my keys.

I kissed her on the cheeks while she was smiling.

'Until' and 'By the Time' as Conjunctions of Time

'Until' and 'by the time' are used to indicate the time up to which an action or event occurs.
'Until' is used to indicate the point in time up to which an action or event occurs. 'By the time' is used to indicate the point in time at which an action or event is expected to be completed. Here are the examples:

I was happy until you came and ruined everything.

Everything will be ready by the time you get home.

since is a conjunction of time

'Since' as a Conjunction of Time

'Since' is used to refer to a point in time in the past from which an action or event began and continues to the present. It can also be used to indicate that an action or event started at the same time as another event. Here are a few examples:

I was afraid of clowns since I was a child.

I feel better since I have finished my therapy.

'As' as a Conjunction of Time

'As' is used to indicate that two events occur simultaneously. It is often used to show a comparison or a contrast between the two events. Here are the examples:

They stopped talking as I walked through the hallway.

I couldn't run as I was trying to breath.

'As Long as' as a Conjunction of Time

As long as is used to indicate the duration of time that an action or event occurs. Check out the examples for more clarification:

We are strong as long as we are together.

They want to stay as long as the party is held.

Punctuation Rules

When conjunctions of time are used to introduce a subordinate clause at the beginning of a sentence, a comma is typically used to separate it from the main clause. However, when the subordinate clause follows the main clause, no comma is needed between the clauses. Here are the examples:

Before he got killed, he had a bad argument with his sister.

I will answer the phone calls as long as I am here.

Warning

Do not use 'during' as an alternative for 'while' because they are different parts of speech. 'During' is a preposition, but 'while' is a conjunction.

Review

Conjunctions of time are used to show the time relations between two events. Here are the most common conjunctions of time:

  • Before/after
  • When
  • As long as
  • While/as
  • Until/by the time
  • Since

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