Mastering Future Time Clauses: The Ultimate Guide

Are you looking to improve your understanding of future time clauses and their usage in the English language? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore future time clauses in depth, providing you with detailed explanations, examples, and tips to enhance your grammar skills. Let’s dive right in!

What are Future Time Clauses?

Future time clauses are specific types of dependent clauses used to express an action or event that will happen in the future. They are introduced by subordinating conjunctions such as “when,” “as soon as,” “before,” “after,” “until,” and “unless.”

These clauses help clarify the relationship between two actions or events, showing which will occur first and which will follow. Understanding how to use them correctly is essential for effective communication in English.

The Structure of Future Time Clauses

To construct a future time clause, follow this structure:

  1. Main clause (in the future tense)
  2. Subordinating conjunction (e.g., when, as soon as, etc.)
  3. Dependent clause (in the present tense)

An important rule to remember is that the dependent clause should always be in the present tense, even though it refers to a future event. This is because the dependent clause’s action is contingent on the main clause’s action, which is in the future tense.

Here’s an example:

We will start the meeting (main clause) when (subordinating conjunction) everyone arrives (dependent clause).

Examples of Future Time Clauses


Use “when” to indicate that the main clause’s action will happen at the same time as the dependent clause’s action or immediately after it.

I will call you (main clause) when (subordinating conjunction) I get home (dependent clause).

As Soon As

Use “as soon as” to emphasize that the main clause’s action will occur immediately after the dependent clause’s action.

They will begin the presentation (main clause) as soon as (subordinating conjunction) the boss enters the room (dependent clause).


Use “before” to show that the main clause’s action will happen earlier than the dependent clause’s action.

She will finish her report (main clause) before (subordinating conjunction) she leaves the office (dependent clause).


Use “after” to indicate that the main clause’s action will occur following the dependent clause’s action.

He will take a vacation (main clause) after (subordinating conjunction) he completes the project (dependent clause).


Use “until” to show that the main clause’s action will continue up to the point when the dependent clause’s action occurs.

We will wait for you (main clause) until (subordinating conjunction) you are ready (dependent clause).


Use “unless” to indicate that the main clause’s action will happen only if the dependent clause’s action does not occur.

They won’t start the movie (main clause) unless (subordinating conjunction) everyone is seated (dependent clause).

Tips for Using Future Time Clauses Effectively

  1. Remember to use the present tense in the dependent clause, even though it refers to a future event.
  2. Be mindful of the subordinating conjunction you choose, as it can change the meaning of your sentence.
  3. Make sure the main clause is in the future tense to maintain clarity and consistency.


Mastering future time clauses is essential for expressing yourself accurately and effectively in English. By understanding the structure, using the appropriate subordinating conjunctions, and following the tips provided in this guide, you can elevate your grammar skills and communicate with confidence. Practice using future time clauses in your writing and speaking, and you’ll soon find yourself effortlessly incorporating them into your everyday language.

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