Subordinators and structural types of clauses:
- Adverbial finite clauses of time are introduced by one of the following subordinators: after, as, before, once, since, till, until, when, whenever, while, whilst, now (that), as long as, as soon as, immediately, directly.
– Buy your ticket as soon as you reach the station.
– When I last saw you, you lived in Washington.
– Wait until you are called.
- Adverbial -ing clauses of time are introduced by one of the following subordinators: once, till, until, when, whenever, while, whilst.
– Be careful when crossing streets.
In addition they are introduced by the prepositions after, before, on and since.
– They washed their hands before eating
- Adverbial -ed clauses of time are introduced by one of the following subordinators that are also used with finite clauses: once, till, until, when, whenever, while, whilst, as soon as.
– Once seen, that painting will never be forgotten.
As soon as is only occasionally possible as a subordinator for –ed clauses.
– The documents will be returned as soon as signed.
- Verbless clauses of time are introduced by the same subordinators as –ed clauses:
– When in difficulty, consult the manual.
– When in doubt, ask your boss.
- To-infintive clauses without a subordinator or a subject may have temporal function, expressing the outcome of the situation.
– He survived the disgrace, to become a respected citizen.
– She turned around, to find the car gone.
These clauses are restricted to final position, suggesting an analogy between them and result clauses, which resemble in meaning. The sentences can usually be paraphrased by reversing the relationship of subordination and using a when or after clause.
– After he survived the disgrace, he became a respected citizen.
– When she turned around, she found the car gone.
- -Ing clauses without a subordinator or a subject may also express time relationship.
– Returning to my village after 30 years, I met an old schoolteacher.
An adverbial clause of time relates the time of the situation denoted in its clause to the time of the situation denoted in the matrix clause.
The time of the matrix clause may be previous to, subsequent to or simultaneous with the time of the adverbial clause. The situations in the clauses may be viewed as occurring once or as recurring.
Some of these time relationships are expressed not only by the choice of subordinator but also by other devices in the 2 clauses: tense and aspect, the semantic category of the verbs, adverbs and prepositional phrases of time and adjectives and nouns expressing time.
Until, till and before indicate that the situation in the matrix clause occurred before or lading up to the situation in the subordinate clause.
Till is used in the same way as until, but is far less frequent as a subordinator.
Until marks the time up to which the situation in the matrix clause applies.
– I disliked Maurice until I got to know him.
The matrix clause must be durative, the duration lasting to the time indicated by the until-clause.
A negative clause id always durative:
– I didn´t start my meal until Adam arrived.
Before also marks the time from which the situation in the matrix clause applies, but the matrix clause need not to be durative.
– I started my meal before Adam arrived.
The situation in until-clauses is generally presupposed to be true, but that is not always so for before-clauses.
– He´ ll beg for food before he´ ll ask his parents for money. (He won´ t ask his parents for money)
or the situation in the matrix clause may prevent that in the before-clause from taking place.
– He died before writing a will.
Before may be modified to indicate relative proximity of time by arrange of modifiers: just, right, immediately, sometime, a long time, many days but until is restricted to the modifiers just and right.
– I took the examination sometime before my brother did.
2. Same Time:
Several subordinators indicate the simultaneity of the situations in the matrix and subordinate clauses, or at least an overlap in time of the 2 situations: when, whenever, while, whilst, now (that), as, as long as, so long as.
As denotes merely simultaneity of 2 situations
– As it grew dark, we could hear the hum of mosquitoes.
For as long as and so long as both clauses must be durative. The subordinators imply that the situations begin and end at the same time.
– As long as I live here, I do it my way.
They emphasize more strongly than the other subordinators both simultaneity and duration.
While and the less frequent whilst require that their clause must be durative, but the matrix clause need not be.
– They arrived while I was sunbathing.
Whenever is primarily used to introduce a frequency adverbial, denoting that the situation is repeated.
– She visits her parents whenever possible.
Like whenever, When may imply simultaneity if one of the clauses is durative.
– Be careful when crossing streets.
When may also imply repetitiveness, in which case it is synonymous with whenever.
– When I read I like to be alone.
Now that combines reason with temporal meaning. It may be used to indicate simultaneity.
– Now that she could drive, she felt independent.
Several subordinators indicate a sequence in which the situation in the matrix clause occurs after that in the subordinate clause: once, since, after, when, whenever, now (that), as long as, as soon as, immediately, directly.
As soon as, immediately, directly and once add the notion of proximity in time of the 2 situations.
– Once she finished working, she went home.
– As soon as I left, I burst out laughing.
Immediately and directly particularly emphasize proximity.
– She returned immediately she heard the good news.
A similar effect is obtained by adding appropriate modifiers to after and as soon as: immediately after, just as soon as.
After merely marks the sequence of the clauses. Modifications may indicate relative proximity: just right, immediately, moments, some time, a long time, soon, a year etc.
– Come over right after you´ ve finished working.
Since marks the beginning of the period after which the situation in the matrix clause applies.
– He feels much more relaxed since he left school.
When and whenever may indicate a sequence when the 2 clauses are nondurative.
– She was shocked when she heard his story.
Now (that) does not have that restriction.
– Now that they´ ve moved, we won´ t see them very often.
When, whenever and once may combine time with condition:
– When/Whenever/Once I make up my mind to do something, I do it immediately.
The sequential meaning of after, when and whenever may induce an implication of cause.
– My heart leaps, whenever I see you.
The preposition until may introduce after-clauses:
– Don´ t leave until after I´ ve spoken to you.