Temporal Clause – Before, After, When, While

Syntax

A Temporal Clause is usually composed of two parts: The independent clause and the dependent clause, which are linked by one of these connectors: Before, after, when, while. These connectors refer to a specific point of time.

The Temporal Clause can be expressed through two kinds of structures that differ in the order of words but not in meaning:

  • Clause 1 (Subject+verb) + connector + clause 2 (Subject + verb);
  • Connector + clause 1 (Subject + verb) + comma (,) + clause 2 (Subject + verb).

Connectors

  • Before;
  • After;
  • When;
  • While.

Before

  • We should leave before it starts raining.
  • Before I go to work, I drink a coffee.

After

  • The boss was more tolerant with him after he learnt about his problems.
  • After we got to know her, we realised she was selfish.

When

  • I was very polite when I met her.
  • When they were sleeping, the light was on.

While

  • We called the police while you and your neighbour were fighting.
  • While you were reading, they had some coffee.

We use Temporal Clauses to form more complex sentences and locate an event in a specific moment or period. The Temporal Clause gets sense thanks to the following connectors:

  • Before (previous event);
  • After (subsequent event);
  • When (in a specific moment);
  • While (at the same time with another event).

Temporal Clauses are used to form more complex sentences and locate an event in a specific moment or period. These clauses are usually composed of two parts: the independent clause and the dependent clause, which are linked by a connector.

These connectors are: Before, after, when and while.

For example:
— “I’ll have a shower before dinner.” = “The shower” is the first event to take place and “the dinner” the second.
— “I’ll have a shower after dinner.” =  “The dinner” is the first event to take place and “the shower” the second.
— “I’ll have a shower when the water gets warmer.” = “The shower” will be had in the moment in which “the water gets warmer“.
— “I’ll have a shower while you cook dinner.” = The two events happen at the same time.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.