Unit 10.2

Temporal Adverbial Subordinate Adverbial Sentences

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Introduction

The subordinate clause [oración subordinada] is a type of compound sentence structurally dependent on the nucleus of another sentence, called the main sentence [oración principal].

There are three types of subordinate clauses: noun, adjective (or relative) and adverbial [sustantivas, adjetivas (o de relativo) y adverbiales].

Adverbial subordinate clauses [oraciones subordinadas adverbiales] express a circumstance of the main verb. Temporal adverbial subordinate clauses [oraciones subordinadas adverbiales temporales] indicate a temporal circumstance of the main sentence.

Form

Temporal adverbial subordinate clauses indicated a temporal circumstance of the main sentence and preceded by nexuses with a temporal value.

They have three forms, i.e. they can express anteriority, simultaneity or posteriority concerning the action of the main proposition.

Anteriority

Temporal sentences of anteriority begin with the preposition antes de and go with the infinitive;

If the infinitive is a reflexive verb, the reflexive pronoun has to agree with the subject of the main sentence;

The interpretation of the subordinate clause expressing anteriority with before is factual, i.e. the event denoted in the subordinate clause takes place;

They have the following structure:
Main sentence + antes de + subordinate clause (infinitive + complements).

Posteriority

Temporal sentences of posteriority  are connected to the main sentence with the preposition después de  and go with the infinitive;

If the infinitive is a reflexive verb, the reflexive pronoun has to agree with the subject of the main sentence;

The interpretation of the subordinate clause expressing posteriority with after is factual, i.e. the event denoted in the subordinate clause takes place;

They have the following structure:
Main sentence + después de + subordinate clase  (infinitive + complements).

Simultaneity

Temporal sentences of simultaneity are connected to the main sentence with the preposition cuando.

When used in the present indicative, they express habitual actions.

They have the following structure:
Main sentence+ cuando + subordinate clause (verb in the indicative + complements).

Example

Anteriority:

  • Antes de dejar un mensaje, habla con él en persona;
  • Antes de venir, ¿podéis llamar por teléfono, por favor?;
  • Antes de preguntar infórmate bien del tema.

Posteriority:

  • Después de salir de trabajar, tuve que responder a todos los mensajes que tenía;
  • Después de la pelea que tuvimos, me llamó por teléfono para disculparse.

Simultaneity:

  • Me relajaré cuando me respondan al correo que les envié hace una semana;
  • Cuando aparecen los anuncios aprovecharé para ir a hacerme un café;
  • Veré el programa de televisión cuando tenga un poco de tiempo.

Use

Temporal adverbial subordinate clauses express anteriority, simultaneity or posteriority with respect to the action of the main sentence, to which they are connected by means of the following nexuses:

  • anteriority:
    • antes de: introduces a subordinate clause that indicates anteriority concerning the main clause. The main sentence and the subordinate clause have the same subject.
  • posteriority:
    • después de: introduces a subordinate clause indicating posteriority. The main sentence and the subordinate clause have the same subject.
  • simultaneity:
    • cuando: introduces a subordinate clause indicating simultaneity. It has a habitual value, i.e. it indicates an action that is repeated.

Summary

Temporal subordinate clauses indicate the temporal circumstance of the main sentence, through their nexuses: antes de, después de, cuando. In Spanish, they are classified into temporal sentences of anteriority, posteriority and simultaneity.

For example:
— «Antes de comer y después de salir del baño tienes que lavarte los dientes» = antes de indicates anteriority with respect to the actions of comer and después de indicates posteriority of the action of salir del baño;
— «Me lavaré las manos cuando acabe de hacer los deberes» = the moment I finish the homework I will wash my hands.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

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