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.

Common Conjunctions of Time

Here are the most common conjunctions of time:

Why Do We Use Conjunctions of Time?

Conjunctions of time are subordinating conjunctions that are used to give time-related information between two clauses.

There are two clauses, one is the main clause and the other is the subordinating clause. You can use either of them as the first clause. Look at some examples:

I have been in China since you left.

I broke my leg when I was sixteen.

'After' and 'Before' as Conjunctions of Time

After and before are used to indicate which event has happened sooner than the other. When we use before at the beginning of the sentence, it means that it has happened later, but when we use after at the beginning of the sentence, it means that it has happened sooner. Here are a few examples:

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

Before she got married, she worked in a bank.

'When' as Conjunction of Time

We usually use when as a conjunction of time when the events concur or one of them happens sooner than the other. 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 Conjunction of Time

When we use while as a conjunction, it means that one event happens during the happening of the other one. 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

When we use until and by the time as conjunctions of time, it means that something happens up to a particular time. Here are the examples:

I was happy until you came and ruined everything.

Everything will be ready by the time you get home.

'Since' as a Conjunction of Time

Since is used as a conjunction of time to refer to a point in time in which something happens after it or starts at the same time of it. 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 Conjunction of Time

When we use the conjunction 'as', it means that an event happens at the same time as another one. 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 Conjunction of Time

As long as is used as a conjunction of time to mean during the whole time something happens up until it happens. 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 at the beginning of a sentence, in other words, when the subordinate clause is used as the head, there is a comma between the main clause and the subordinate clause. But when they are used in the second place there are no commas 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 not of the same 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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