time words

Today we’ve been introduced an advanced one level syllabus grammar subject: time words. First we were given a photocopy with the theory. Then we did some exercises.

These are the contents of that piece of paper:

yet and already

:: Yet comes at the end of questions and negatives, and in British English is used with perfect senses.

I haven’t don it yet. Have you seen that film yet?

:: Already is not normally used in negative sentences and it can take any position.

I’ve done it already. He’s already here.

for, since, ago

:: For is used with a period of time.

I haven’t seen him for weeks/for ages. I’ve been waiting for an hour.

For can be used with past simple as well as present perfect.

Maria lived in Rome for a year.

:: Since is used with a point of time, and comes before the time sentence.

I haven’t seen him since last Thursday. I’ve been wating since 10.00.

:: Ago refers to a period of time going back from now, and comes before the tome reference.

I last saw him a week ago. I started waiting an hour ago.

by, until, so far

:: By refers to an action which will happen at some point before a certain time, though we don’t know exactly when.

I’ll call you at six. I’ll have finished my work by then. (= at some pint before)

By the time I left, I was tired. (I became tired during the tome before)

:: Until/till refers to a point of time at the end of a period of time.

I waited until six, and then I left.
I’ll be here until Thursday, but then I’m going to Paris.

:: For a situation that continues into the future, we use so far.

The police have been searching all day, but so far they haven’t found anything. (and they’re still looking)

Note that we cannot use until now in this context.

by, past

:: By or past with go can also describe time that passes.

A week went by/past, and no letters came for Helen.

during, throughout

:: During describes a point in a period of time, or a whole period of time.

The house was broken into during the night. (point in a period)
During the day cats tend to sleep. (whole period)

::Throughout emphasizes ‘from the beginning to the end’.

She had many successes throughout her carrier. (all the time)
The were several explosions during the night. (at some points)

after, afterwards, later

:: After is a preposition and needs an object. Afterwards is an adverbial meaning ‘after that’, and can stand alone.

I’ll see you after the lesson.
I’ve got a lesson now. I’ll see you afterwards.

:: Later or later on means ‘at some time after this’, and is more general. It can combine with a time word to make a more specific reference.

Bye for now. I’ll see you later.
I’ll see you later this afternoon.

on time, in time

:: On time means ‘at the moment that was arranged’. The opposite is late.

The train arrived exactly on time.

:: In time is the opposite of too late.

The paramedics did not arrive in time to save the man’s life. (The were too late to save him)

at last, finally, in the end, at the end

:: At last is used when something you have been waiting for happens.

At last you are here! I’ve been waiting for so long to see you!

:: Finally introduces something that happened after a long time. It is usually positioned before the verb.

We>/em> finally move into the flat last Thursday.

It also begins a sentence, to describe the last in a series of events or process, or introduce the last thing you want to say.

Finally, the products are packed in cardboard boxes and sent to the warehouse.

Finally, I’d like to propose a toast to the bride and groom.

nowadays, these days

:: Both are used to describe general present time.

Nowadays very few men wear hats.
Most people these days wear casual clothes.

once, one day, at once

:: Once refers to a past event, or something which used to exist but no longer does.

I once ate nothing but apples for three days!
There was once a castle here, but it was destroyed many years ago.

Once can also mean as soon as:

Once we got on the plane, we started to relax.

:: One day can have past or future reference

One day I was waiting for the bus, when suddenly I saw …
I hope that one day everyone in the world will have enough to eat.

:: At once means immediately:

Please make sure you complete the letter at once.

:: All at once means suddenly:

All at once there was a knock at the door.

in, within

:: In and within van mean ‘before the end of a period of tome’. Within is more formal.

Helen managed to finish the exam paper in/within fifteen minutes.
Please be sure to return the completed form within fourteen days of receipt.

next Tuesday, etc.

:: Although we use on with days and dates, we cannot use on if we use next or last.

I’ll see you on Friday.
I’ll see you next Friday.


3 comentarios en “time words

  1. The exercises about time words start with choosing the best time word like in the following example:

    Harry has already/before/yet decided which university he wants to go to.

    in the following phrases:

    1. I’ve got to go now, but I’ll see you after/later.

    2. If I haven’t finished past/by/until six, I’ll give you a call.

    3. Luckily, we landed exactly in time/on time, so we were able to catch our connecting flight.

    4. Apparently, Sam at once/once played football for Scotland.

    5. Kate waited for Pat by/until/since 6.30, but then gave up and went home.

    6. Later/Once/One day I got used to the water, it didn’t feel so cold.

    7. Martin had a bad attack of hay-fever within/during/on the film and had to leave.

    8. In the end/At the end of the lesson Kate waited outside for her friend.

    9. I’ll see you on next Saturday/next Saturday/the next Saturday, same place, same time.

    The next exercise is about completing the sentence with one phrase from the list:

    at last – at once – by now – during the night – ever since – for weeks – in half an hour – in the end – in time – until 5.30

    I’ll be here …until 5.30…, but I’ll have to leave then.

    During the night…, a tree next to the house was struck by lightning.

    The whole basketball team has been training hard …for weeks

    Good news! The plumber has turned up to fix the shower, …at last

    Wait for me here, and I’ll be back …in half an hour

    That’s very odd! Alan should have got here …by now

    In the end…, the whole trip turned out to be a disaster.

    I’ve been looking forward to meeting you …ever since… I heard you were coming.

    Tina arrived at the station just …in time… to see the train draw away from the platform.

    I need to speak to you urgently. Please come to my office …at once

    In the third exercise we must complete the sentence with one word.

    a The convicted bank robber was sent to prison …for… six years.

    b I’m a bit busy now but I can see you …later on

    c The contract should be ready for signing …in/within… a week.

    d By the time we got to the theatre, the play had …already… started-

    e It’s ages …since… I last read a really good novel.

    f There’s no point in calling Chris, because he won’t be awake …yet

    g I was …once… in your situation, so I know how you must feel.

    h My project is due in on Friday, but I won’t have finished it …by… then.

    i The letter I had been waiting for …finally… arrived on Saturday morning.

    j Sam hasn’t felt well …since… the beginning of the year.

  2. There were also two exercises that featured two historic events (Vesuvius volcano and the battle of Thermopylae) and included time words that we had to fill in the gaps.


    Vesuvius is a volcano which started forming about 25,000 years a ….ago… . bBefore… its best-known eruption in 79 AD, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the volcano had calready… erupted many times, but ots history had been forgotten. It seemed to have dfinally/at last/in the end… grown quiet, and was covered in gardens and vineyards. eFor… hundreds of years the Romans lived around the volcano without realizing the danger. fDuring… the 79 AD eruption, which is thought to have lasted 19 hours, the volcano released about four cubic kilometres of ash and rock over a wide area. Down the sides of the mountain rushed a pyrocastic flow, a cloud of superheated gas and ash, which gby… the time it reached the cities below had a temperature of about 350ºC. This is probably what killed their populations. hAfter/Since… the eruption of 79 AD, Vesuvius has erupted around three dozen times, with four serious eruptions iDuring/Within/In… the past 100 years. It last erupted in 1944 and juntil… scientists learn to accurately predict the dates of serious eruptions, the risk of a sudden eruption remains a constant danger to the three million of people living nearby.

    The Battle of Thermopylae

    The Battle of Thermopylae took place nearly 2500 years aago…, when the Persian King Xerxes invaded Greece. A huge Persian army moved down the east coast of Greece buntil… it reached the narrow pass of Thermopylae, which was defended by Leonidas with 300 Spartans, 600 slaves and a small number of other Greeks. The Persian army halted, and soon cafterwards… a Persian scout reported to the king that the Greek defenders were combing their hair, their custom before battle. The Persians waited dfor… four days while they tried to persuade the Greeks to leave, but the Greeks held firm. eFinally… on the fifth day the Persians launched an attack but the Greeks easily defeated them. fDuring… the following two days, the Persians attacked again and again, but gby… the end of the second day the pass had still not been taken, and thousands of Persians had been slaughtered. On the third day a traitor, Ephialtes, offered to show the Persians a secret path over the mountains to the rear of the Greek position. hImmediately… a large force set off and iafter… a brief battle with the Phocians who were defending the path, the main Greek army was surrounded. jIn the end… the small Greek force was completely destroyed, but their bravery and skill and the small size of their army shocked the Persians, and won them a place in history.


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