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Adverbials of time


Level: beginner

We use adverbials of time to describe:

  • when something happens:

I saw Mary yesterday.
She was born in 1978.
I will see you later.
There was a storm during the night.

We waited all day.
They have lived here since 2004.
We will be on holiday from 1 July until 3 August.

They usually watched television in the evening.
We sometimes went to work by car.

Adverbials of time




It used to be the case that when/if/whenever someone mentioned Arizona, I thought about her.
It used to be the case that when/if/whenever someone mentioned Arizona, I would think about her.
It used to be the case that when/if/whenever someone mentioned Arizona, I used to think about her.
Do the 3 sentences mean the same thing? Also, are when/if/whenever interchangeable in those sentences?
Thank you.

Hello sam61,
There is no difference in meaning here between the three verb forms (thought, would think and used to think). In this context, all of them describe a regular (not unique) action.
'Whenever' usually means 'every time' rather than describing a particular time, while 'when' has a broader range of meanings. In this context, however, they are interchangeable.
'If' is a little different. It carries a sense of uncertainty. 'When' ('whenever') tells us that the action will happen even if the time is uncertain. 'If' tells us that the action may not happen.
The LearnEnglish Team


I have a question about "during" and when we have to use the article "the".

If I'm referring to any night and not a specific one, which is correct, "during the night" or "during night"?

Here's an example: "If you take a walk during (the) night, be very careful."

Thank you!

Hello Anda B,

'during the night' is correct and 'during night' is not – there is no good reason as far as I know, it's just that people say the first one but not the second.

Actually, many people would probably say 'at night' instead of 'during the night' because 'during the night' could imply the whole period of the night, which doesn't seem to be what you mean here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Is there a rule for the use of article after "during"? I have seen many examples with "during the.." and "during.." and I can't find a pattern. Are there restrictions or it just depends on how it is commonly used?

Thank you,
Anda B

Hello Anda B,

I'm afraid I don't know of any rule to explain this. As far as I can tell we'd use 'the' (or no article) after 'during' in the same ways as usual. In the case of the words 'day' and 'night', I'd say they're used so often that they've developed into fixed expressions like 'during the night', 'at night', 'during the day' (and there are many more).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Good night!

Could you tell me please, which one of these are the correct one? Is the idea clear?

1. Do you ever think about stop complaining about everything?
2. Have you ever thought of stopping complaining about everything?

Hello Daniel H,

The first sentence is incorrect. The second is correct but I suspect you mean 'consider', which is more usually expressed with 'think about':

Have you ever thought about stopping complaining about everything?


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good afternoon,

Will you please explain why the "during the summer" adverbial was enclosed in the "when" category and not in the "how long" one at the answers of the activity? Aren't "during the summer" and "from June to August" forms equivalent?

Hello Dragos,

Although it indicates a period of time that begins at one point and ends at another, 'during' is typically used to refer to that whole period of time, not to indicate duration. It's a subtle difference. You might want to look up 'during' in the dictionary search box on the right side of this page – the example sentences there could be helpful in seeing exactly how it works.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team