In the sequence I took the key out of my pocket and opened the door, it is clear which action was first and which action happened second. You do not need to write anything else to show this. But sometimes it is not clear and you must use special words to show which was first or if the actions happened at the same time.

1 Same time


Maria can wash the potatoes while I chop the onions.
While I was on the phone, the TV show started.


As I headed out the door, it started to rain.
I heard a loud noise as I was crossing the road.


They were eating when I arrived.

2 Different times


[1]:EVENT 1, [2]:EVENT 2

[1] First, I'll wash the potatoes. [2] Then, I'll chop the onions.

[1] She watched TV for a while. [2] After that, she went to bed.

[1] After I have washed the potatoes, [2] I'll chop the onions.


[1]:EVENT 1, [2]:EVENT 2

[2] I'll chop the onions [1] after I have washed the potatoes.

[2] I found the message [1] when I arrived home.

[2] Before I chop the onions, [1] I'll wash the potatoes.

[2] They ate [1] when I arrived. Compare with 1 c.

NOTICE: We cannot use will for future time with after, as, before, when, while. We use a present tense:

Have another coffee before you go. NOT will go

We'll arrest him while he's sleeping. NOT will sleep

NOTICE: If you are describing three or more events and you want to show the sequence clearly, put first at the beginning and put finally before the last event.

Download PDF
Download Word

Exercise 85.1
Exercise 85.2
Exercise 85.3