English Grammar


BY THE TIME

Helle everyone
May somebody explain me how to use the expression " by the time" in different tenses?
thank you

3 comments

  • Hi Adrien,
    An easy way to read words or expressions in context is to do as follows :
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    Nice day to you
  • Hi Adrien,
    Thanks to Thierry you can find out lots of ways the expression is used.
    About tenses coming after 'by the time', that's quite simple.
    Just note that time here means moment, point of time.

    When a time clause introduced by when, by the time, before, as soon as, after .... refers to the future, the present simple (possibly continuous) is required in the time clause. They WILL COME IN by the time an open door policy COMES into force.  I WILL PAY by the time my checking account IS WORKING.

    When a time clause introduced by 'by the time', etc.  refers to the past, the past simple is used. By the time poverty WAS rife, I WAS a wee boy. Past perfect might also fit is sentences like "By the time I had grown up, I was so happy."
    That's nothing but my mind, Adrien.
  • Hi Adrien, Thierry and AhQ have given you helpful answers here.

    In case a shorter summary helps:

    "By the time" is similar to "when" or "at the moment when". In general, when we say "by the time", we indicate that at a certain point, an action had already happened.

    For example:

    By the time I arrrived, everyone had left.
    "By the time I arrived" = When I arrived, at the moment when I arrived
    We know that everyone had left at some point before I arrived.

    I hope this helps!

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