Jen's English Tips - Time Clauses - English Mentors Tips

English Mentors Tips

Jen’s English Tips – Time Clauses



Time Clauses – Worksheet

Time clauses are introduced with: after, as, as long as, as soon as, just as, since, before, by the time, when, while, until / till, the moment (that), whenever, etc.

As soon as he (had) finished studying, he turned on the TV.
(Time clause)                                      (Main clause)

Time clauses follow the rule of the sequence of tenses. This means that when the verb of the main sentence is in a present or future form, the verb of the time clause is in a present form. When the verb of the main sentence is in a past form, the verb of the time clause is in a past form, too.

She’ll come when she is ready.
(NOT: when she will be ready.)
You can wait here until she comes. (NOT: until she will come)
She did the cleaning after she had done the washing-up. (NOT: after she does)

We never use will / would (future forms) in time clauses; we normally use a present form.

He’ll go out after he has finished his work. (NOT: after he will finish or will have finished)
He’ll be a lawyer when he grows up. (NOT: when he will grow up)

when (time conjunction) + present

I’ll take you out to dinner when I get paid.
when (question word) + future or present Do you know when she will arrive / is arriving

is used for things which may possibly happen.
I’II help you if I have time.
When is used for things which are sure to happen.
I’ll phone you when we get to the hotel.
By the time means before, not later than.
She had finished cooking by the time her guests arrived.
Until means up to the time when. It is also used with a negative verb.
They waited until the building had been evacuated.
They didn’t take off until the weather improved.


Fill in when or if.
1. I might have a party. _________ I do, I’ll invite you.
2. He promised to call us ___________ he reaches Rome.
3. She’ll be happy __________ when she wins the race.
4. You will catch a cold __________ you go out in the rain.
5. __________ he finishes school, he’ll go to university.
6. __________ anyone calls, tell them I’m busy.


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