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Unit 4.2

Temporal Subordinate Clauses

Complex Clauses

Temporal clauses are part of the adverbial clauses which are composed of independent and dependent clauses, linked by connectors. The connectors of temporal clauses refer to a specific point in time.

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

  • Connector + clause + , + clause
  • Clause + connector + clause

The clauses are made up of subject + verb. The connectors are: before, after, when and while.

  • Before
    • Before I go to work, I drink coffee.
      I drink a coffee before I go to work.
    • Before it starts raining, we should leave.
      We should leave before it starts raining.
  • After
    • After you fainted, the ambulance came.
      The ambulance came after you fainted.
    • After we got to know her, we realized she was selfish.
      We realized she was selfish after we got to know her.
  • When
    • When she had a disease, she felt bad.
      She felt bad when she had a disease.
    • When they were sleeping, the light was on.
      The light was on when they were sleeping.
  • While
    • While you were reading, they had some coffee.
      They had some coffee while you were reading.
    • While he is doing the exercise, he feels good.
      He feels good while he is doing the exercise.

We use temporal clauses to form more complex sentences and locate an event in a specific moment or period. The temporal clause makes sense thanks to the following connectors:

  1. Before (previous event);
  2. After (subsequent event);
  3. When (in a specific moment);
  4. While (at the same time as another event).

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

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

The structures are:
Connector + clause + , + clause
Clause + connector + clause

For example:
Before you cook dinner, I’ll have a shower.” / “I’ll have a shower before you cook dinner.” = The shower is the first event to take place and the dinner the second.
After you cook dinner, I’ll have a shower.” / “I’ll have a shower after you cook dinner.” = The dinner is the first event to take place and the shower the second.
When the dinner is ready, I’ll have a shower.” / “I’ll have a shower when the dinner is ready.” = The  shower is the second event that happens in a specific moment.
While you cook dinner, I’ll have a shower.” / “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.

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