ADVERBS OF TIME
Adverbials of time can be time expressions such as ‘last night’.
Adverbials of time can be prepositional phrases with ‘at’, ‘in’, or ‘on’.
‘For’ refers to a period of time in the past, present, or future.
‘Since’ refers to a point in past time.
1. We use adverbials of time to say when something happens.
We often use noun groups called time expressions as adverbials of time.
|the day after tomorrow|
Note that we do not use the prepositions ‘at’, ‘in’, or ‘on’ with time
One of my children wrote to me today..
So, you're coming back next week?
We often use time expressions with verbs in the present tense to talk about
The plane leaves tomorrow morning.
They're coming next week.
2. We can use prepositional phrases as adverbials of
3. We use ‘for’ with verbs in any tense to say how long
something continues to happen.
He is in Italy for a month..
I remained silent for a long time.
I will be in London for three months.
WARNING: We do not use ‘during’ to say how long something
continues to happen. We cannot say ‘I went there during three weeks’.
4. We use ‘since’ with a verb in the present perfect or
past perfect tense to say when something started to happen.
Marilyn has lived in Paris since 1984..
I had eaten nothing since breakfast..
5. We can use many other prepositional phrases as
adverbials of time. We use:
- ‘during’ and ‘over’ for a period of time in which something happens
I saw him twice during the summer holidays.
Will you stay in Edinburgh over Christmas?
- ‘from...to/till/until’ and ‘between...and’ for the beginning and end of a
period of time
The building is closed from April to May.
She worked from four o'clock till ten o'clock.
Can you take the test between now and June?
- ‘by’ when you mean ‘not later than’
By eleven o'clock, Brody was back in his office.
Can we get this finished by tomorrow?
- ‘before’ and ‘after’
I saw him before the match.
She left the house after ten o'clock.
‘Since’, ‘till’, ‘until’, ‘after’, and ‘before’ can also be conjunctions
with time clauses.
I've been wearing glasses since I was three.
You use the adverb ‘ago’ with the past simple to say how long before the
time of speaking something happened. You always put ‘ago’ after the period of
We saw him about a month ago.
John's wife died five years ago.
WARNING: We do not use ‘ago’ with the present perfect
tense. We cannot say ‘We have gone to Spain two years ago’.