S1E7: Giving Information Part 2: Adverbs of Time Transcript

S1E7: Giving Information Part 2: Adverbs of Time Transcript

Welcome to episode 7! You might be thinking: what is an adverb of time and what does it do?

Well, adverbs of time are another way we give information. They tell us when certain actions take place. They’re hugely important when writing emails because they give us specificity, we understand fully when something is happening. An adverb clause, together with the independent clause, shows if two actions take place at the same time or if they take place at different times in the past, present or future.


There are two ways to form a sentence with an adverb of time. You can either begin the sentence with it or follow it from a main clause. When you do begin a sentence with an adverb of time you usually follow it with a comma. When an adverb of time follows the main clause then it doesn’t have a comma.

Here’s an example of a sentence that begins with an adverb of time. The adverb of time used is while.

(While) + (I was) + (writing) (,) + (the email) + (arrived).

The first part of the sentence (while I was writing) is a dependant clause. This is because we have started the sentence with an adverb of time. It is dependent on the second half of the sentence completing it. The second clause is independent (the email arrived) because it is a complete sentence on its own.

Now, let’s look at the same example but flip it around so the adverb of time follows a main clause.

(I was) + (writing) + (while) + (the email) + (arrived)

Notice how everything has changed. The first part of the sentence (I was writing) has become the independent clause. The second part of the sentence (while the email arrived) is a dependent clause.

Here are some more examples of adverbs of time.


(An action that takes place secondary to other actions.)

For example: ‘After you go, I’ll lock up the office.’

Or: ‘I’ll lock up the office, after you go.’

As soon as

(This shows urgency, the action must happen immediately.)

For example: ‘As soon as I graduate, I will move to Edinburgh.’

Or: ‘I will move to Edinburgh as soon as I graduate.’


(Actions happening at the same time.)

For example: ‘As you listen to the presentation, you should take notes.’

Or: ‘You should take notes as you listen to the presentation.’


(An action must happen in order for another to take place.)

For example: ‘Before you go, I’d like you to file the invoices.’

Or: ‘File the invoices before you go.’

Every time

(This shows something is frequent/common.)

For example: ‘Every time I work with her, I feel happy.’

Or: ‘I feel happy every time I work with her.’

By the time

(When an action takes place another immediately happens.)

For example: ‘By the time I’ve finished this report it’ll be midnight.’

Or: ‘It’ll be midnight by the time I’ve finished this report.’


(Meaning it has only happened one time.)

For example: ‘Once, I had a written warning.’

Or: ‘I once had a written warning.’

Or: ‘I had a written warning once.’


(An action that took place in the past that connects to the present.)

For example: ‘I’ve worked for this company since I was twenty-two.’

Or: ‘Since I was twenty-two, I have worked for this company.’


(An action that takes place when another either happens or just happened.)

For example: ‘When you get home, don’t forget to send that email.’

Or: ‘Don’t forget to send that email when you get home.’


(This shows something is frequent/common.)

For example: ‘Whenever I speak, he talks over me.’

Or: ‘He talks over me whenever I speak.’

Note: A common phrase is ‘whenever suits you’. This is a slightly informal phrase but a polite one. It is used quite commonly now, especially in office settings. Let’s look at this example: ‘When would you like to have our meeting?’ / ‘Whenever suits.’


(An action that takes place at the same time as another.)

For example: ‘While you wait, you should read the manual.’

Or: ‘Read the manual while you wait.’


(An action that is happening presently whilst waiting for another action to happen in the future.)

For example: ‘Until he joins us, I’ll wait here.’

Or: ‘I’ll wait here until he joins us.’

I know that’s a lot to digest but adverbs of time are not only useful, they make your emails accessible. When you’re ready, go to episode 8 where I’ll tell you different ways to give news through emails.