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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    By the time she gets dressed, the school bus will have left.

    Does "by the time" always need future perfect? I don't think will leave makes sense here as an action should be finished by some point in the future. So doesn't will leave never make sense here? I'm not sure.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    By the time she gets dressed, the school bus will have left.

    Does "by the time" always need future perfect? I don't think will leave makes sense here as an action should be finished by some point in the future. So doesn't will leave never make sense here? I'm not sure.
    No, "will leave" doesn't work. However, "will be leaving" would be OK.
    You could say, "The school bus will leave before she gets dressed".

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    By the time she gets dressed, the school bus will have left.

    Does "by the time" always need future perfect? I don't think will leave makes sense here as an action should be finished by some point in the future. So doesn't will leave never make sense here? I'm not sure.
    No, you can also use the future progressive as in the following song:
    "By the time I get to Phoenix she'll be rising."
    Or the simple future, with 'be':
    "By the time I get rich, I'll be too old to enjoy the money."
    "By the time they invent a cure, I'll be dead."

    Also, you haven't mentioned "by the time" in the past:
    "By the time he got there, the party was over".
    "By the time he got there, the party had been going for hours".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Thank you all, but would you tell me why "will leave" is awkward with "by the time" exactly?
    What is the relationship between the two time-wise or something?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Thank you all, but would you tell me why "will leave" is awkward with "by the time" exactly?
    What is the relationship between the two time-wise or something?
    'By the time...' has the idea of 'at some time before or, at the latest, at the same time as...'. We therefore expect the situation in the main clause to be a state already in being, an action already begun, or an action/state finished. Look again at the sample sentences suggested by bhaisa and Raymott to confirm this.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Keannu, I hope you don't mind me asking questions in your thread I find this 'by/by the time' thing confusing too, especially when it comes to looking at examples in different courebooks.

    Talking about the past:

    By 1999 he had lived there for ten years - the Past Perfect
    By the age of 16, she learned German - the Past Simple

    Frankly speaking, I see no difference between the sentences in terms of grammar. Both of them imply that the action/state preceded a particular moment in time (which was in the past), expressed by the preposition 'by'.

    Would saying "by the age of 16 she had learned German" make the sentence sound differently??

    Talking about the future:

    I'll do it by Wednesday
    I'll have done it by Wednesday

    Is the choice between Simple/Perfect Simple just a matter of taste here?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Verona_82!, Honestly, I just guess the below is proper, but I'm not hundred percent sure as I'm on the same boat.

    By the age of 16, she had learned German.
    From native teachers, I guess "by" needs an action completed at the time that comes after "by" as "by" has the nuance of the moment of completion, so if you just say learn, it would mean "you start to something" possibly at the last moment that doesn't go with expected completion.

    But I don't see if I can change the following example like this. Please,teachers help me!

    A: Can I borrow your hammer for a moment?
    B: No, I'm using it. Please wait until I (finish, have finished)
    => Please come back by the time I have finished(not finish!!!)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "by the time" always needs future perfect?

    Verona: 1.By 1999 he had lived there for ten years - the Past Perfect
    2. By the age of 16, she learned German - the Past Simple

    Frankly speaking, I see no difference between the sentences in terms of grammar. Both of them imply that the action/state preceded a particular moment in time (which was in the past), expressed by the preposition 'by'.

    Would saying 3. "by the age of 16 she had learned German" make the sentence sound different
    ly?

    5jj: Although some people might say #2, #3 is the version we would expect. #2 could have the implications suggested by keannu (below).

    Verona: Talking about the future:

    4.I'll do it by Wednesday
    5. I'll have done it by Wednesday
    .

    Is the choice between Simple/Perfect Simple just a matter of taste here?

    5jj: There is not a great deal of difference. #5 makes it crystal clear that the 'doing' will be completed,

    keannu:.

    By the age of 16, she had learned German.
    From native teachers, I guess "by" needs an action completed at the time that comes after "by" as "by" has the nuance of the moment of completion, so if you just say learn, it would mean "you start to something" possibly at the last moment that doesn't go with expected completion
    .

    5jj: This is one possibility. The other is that the speaker meant to express completion, but omitted to use the past perfect.

    Keannu: But I don't see if I can change the following example like this. Please,teachers help me!

    A: Can I borrow your hammer for a moment?
    B: No, I'm using it. Please wait until I (finish, have finished) No real difference.
    => Please come back
    by the time I have finished(not finish!!!) Correct. See my post #5. (Although I have to say that this sounds a little unnatural. It assumes that the listener knows when the speaker will finish.)

    The real problem for learners is that native speakers are not always precise about using the past perfect in the way grammar books suggest it is used.

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