Unit 11.2

Temporal Clauses

Complex Clauses

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Introduction

Temporal clauses are part of the adverbial clauses which are composed of independent and dependent clauses, linked by connectors.  {see Temporal Subordinate Clauses, A2 level}

Form

The temporal clause has two kinds of structures that differ in the order of words but not in meaning:

We can find:
Connector + Clause 1 + (,) + Clause 2…
Clause 1 + Connector + Clause 2…

The most commonly used connectors, to link temporal subordinate clauses, are: as soon as, once, until

Example

  • As soon as the civil war started, I left the city.
    I left the city as soon as the civil war started.
  • As soon as he woke up, he prayed.
    He prayed as soon as he woke up.
  • Once I become the ambassador, I will call the president.
    I will call the president once I become the ambassador.
  • Once they discover he killed her, he will be sent to jail.
    He will be sent to jail once they discover he killed her.
  • Until the water evaporates, don’t turn off the oven.
    Don’t turn off the oven until the water evaporates.
  • Until she finishes studying ancient history, she won’t study medieval history.
    She won’t study medieval history until she finishes studying ancient history.

Use

We use temporal clauses to produce more complex sentences and locate an event in a specific moment or period.

The meaning of temporal clause depends on the following connectors:

  1. As soon as: to show that the first clause should happen right after the second;
  2. Once: to show that the first clause should happen right after the second;
  3. Until: to show that the first clause will finish as the second one starts.

Summary

A temporal clause is usually composed of two parts: the independent and the dependent clause, which are linked by time connectors. These connectors refer to a specific point of time.

The structure is: We start with a time connector followed by a clause, a comma and another clause. We can also start with a clause followed by a time connector and another clause (we don’t use a comma here).

The most commonly used time connectors, to link temporal subordinate clauses, are: as soon as, once, until

For example:
— “As soon as we entered the house, it started to rain.” = First we entered the house, then it started to rain.
— “I worked for 30 years until I retired.” = I worked for 30 years and after I retired.

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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