I’ll tell you later! | Adverbs of time

Adverbs of time are extremely common in English, it’s worth learning a few to vary your vocabulary and to add more detail or ‘spice up’ your sentences when speaking in English. 

Adverbs can be used to give us more information about when something took place or will take place, how long it lasted or how often something takes place. 

Today we will teach you more about adverbs that tell us more about WHEN something took place. 

Here is a list of some of our favourites with examples. 

Soon

Meaning: in or after a short time. This is the least specific one on our list – “soon” can signify anything from a few seconds to a few years, depending on the context

  • “I’m going to quit my job soon” 
  • “He will call you soon”
  • “They will arrive soon”

RECENTLY / Lately

Meaning: in the preceding few days or weeks 

  • “I have been doing a lot of exercise recently”
  • “Recently, he has coming home from work really late”
  • “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work”

Later

Meaning: in or after a short time, usually used to talk about a time in the future but on the same day. 

  • “I’ll do the work later”
  • “You have to come back later, we are not ready yet”

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Generally these types of adverbs are used at the end of a sentence. You can place them at different points in the sentence to add different emphasis. 

For example: 

  1. I called him later. 
  2. Later, I called him. 

In example 1, the time adverb has a neutral effect, in example 2, ‘later’ is emphasised because it is placed at the start.

Another example:

  1. We’re going to the party tonight
  2. Tonight, we’re going to the party

Earlier

Meaning: before a short time, usually to talk about a time in the past but on the same day 

  • “It was raining earlier but now it’s fine” 
  • “I spoke to you earlier” 

If you want to be specific:

Next year / next month / next week / tomorrow

Meaning: the following year / month / week / day

  • “I will finish my studies next year”
  • “Next month will be busy”
  • “They are coming to stay next week”
  • “I’ll do it tomorrow” 

Last year / last month / last week / yesterday

Meaning: the previous year / month / week / day

  • “Last year I went on holiday”
  • “It was very cold last month”
  • “He was ill last week”
  • “I saw you yesterday” 

Or you can use the specific day, date or time. 

(Check out our post here for prepositions of time)

  • “I’ll do it on Monday”
  • “Come back in the afternoon”
  • “It will happen tonight at 6 pm”

We hope this post was useful for you! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @nativeenglishfast

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