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  1. #1
    enydia is offline Member
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    questions about time

    Hello, Teachers.

    I have several questions about time.

    1
    It is 2 o'clock now, and he will come back in two hours.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he will come back after 4 o'clock' or 'he will come back during the time between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock'?
    Similarly, how to understant phrases like 'in a long time/term'?


    2
    He stayed in water over five minutes.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he stayed in water for more than five minutes' or 'he stay in water during five minutes'?

    3
    Do '2 hours after/before' and 'after/before 2 hours' have the same meaning and usage?
    eg.
    He left 2 hours after/before.
    He left after/before 2 hours.

    4
    Is the following sentence correct?
    They will arrive 2 hours after/before he wakes up.
    In my experience, phrases like '2 hours after/before' can only be used in a sentence in the past tense.

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards.

    Enydia *^_^*
    Last edited by enydia; 18-Jul-2008 at 15:52.

  2. #2
    Neillythere's Avatar
    Neillythere is offline Senior Member
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    Re: questions about time

    Hi enydia

    As a Brit, but not a teacher, I would offer the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    Hello, Teachers.
    1
    It is 2 o'clock now, and he will come back in two hours.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he will come back after 4 o'clock' or 'he will come back during the time between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock'?

    Yes! Effectively both are correct, with the proviso that the person will be back within 2 hours, but that it is more likely to be around 2 hours before he comes back i.e he would be back around 4 o'clock.

    2
    He stayed in water over five minutes.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he stayed in water for more than five minutes' or 'he stay in water during five minutes'?

    Similarly, this means that he stayed in the water during and for more than 5 minutes.

    3
    Do '2 hours after/before' and 'after/before 2 hours' have the same meaning and usage?
    eg.
    a) He left 2 hours after/before [I left].
    b) He left after/before 2 hours.

    a) really needs something else to complete the sentence, whereas b) doesn't. (He went to the party, but left after 2 hours)

    4
    Is the following sentence correct?
    They will arrive 2 hours after/before he wakes up.
    In my experience, phrases like '2 hours after/before' can only be used in a sentence in the past tense.

    A is at home asleep. B is flying in from elsewhere.
    B will arrive at the nearest airport to A 2 hours before A wakes up, but it may take B 3 hours to get through immigration and drive to A's place.
    Enydia *^_^*
    Hope this helps
    NT

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: questions about time

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    Hello, Teachers.
    I have several questions about time.
    1
    It is 2 o'clock now, and he will come back in two hours.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he will come back after 4 o'clock' or 'he will come back during the time between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock'?
    It means he will come back at exactly 4.
    "He will be back within 2 hours" means your second choice.

    2
    He stayed in water over five minutes.
    Does the above sentence mean 'he stayed in water for more than five minutes' or 'he stay in water during five minutes'?
    The first. More often expressed as "for over five minutes".
    "During the five minutes I was away, he stayed in the water" - he was in the water for at least five minutes.

    3
    Do '2 hours after/before' and 'after/before 2 hours' have the same meaning and usage?
    eg.
    He left 2 hours after/before.
    He left after/before 2 hours.
    No, they don't.
    You'd normally say "He left two hours before/after someone else", or "... before/after something happened."
    "He left before two hours" means he didn't stay; he left before two hours had passed.
    "He left after two hours" means he stayed for at least two hours, then left sometime after that.

    4
    Is the following sentence correct?
    They will arrive 2 hours after/before he wakes up.
    Yes, they're correct

    In my experience, phrases like '2 hours after/before' can only be used in a sentence in the past tense.
    It can be used in a lot of tenses. not the present perfect or present.
    Your sentence above is in the future tense. "They will arrive ..."
    "They had arrived two hours before he woke up." (Past perfect).
    "They will have arrived two hours before he normally wakes up." (Future perfect)
    "If he left two hours before me, he would arrive two hours before me" (Conditional)
    "Had he left 2 hours before be (If he had left 2 hours before me), he would have arrived two hours before me" (Past conditional).


  4. #4
    enydia is offline Member
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    Re: questions about time

    Thank you for your replies!

    About after/before, I'm still confused.

    (I)
    The following two sentences are both from Practice English Usage (Michael Swan):
    (1) They started the job on 17 June and finished a week after.
    (2) When I went back to the town that I had left 8 years before, ...

    Can I say as follows?
    (1.1) They started the job on 17 June and finished after a week.
    (2.1) When I went back to the town that I had left before 8 years, ...

    In my opinion, (1.1) and (2.1) are both grammatical, and (1.1) expresses the same meaning as (1), but (2.1) is different from (2). Suppose now is 2008, and I went back to the town in 2004. According to (2), I left the town in 2004-8=1996 while according to (2.1), I left in 2008-8=2000. So (2.1) has the same meaning as 'When I went back to the town that I left 8 years ago'. Am I right?

    In fact, I really feel very difficult to distinguish between 'a week after' and 'after a week'. :(

    (II)
    Can 'after a week' be used in the future tense?
    eg He will arrive after a week. (I think it should be '... in a week'.)

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards.

    Enydia
    Last edited by enydia; 18-Jul-2008 at 18:44.

  5. #5
    enydia is offline Member
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    Re: questions about time

    Another question:

    How to understand 'in a long time/term'?
    I think this phrase is ambiguous, but I don't know how to express the meaning exactly.

    Regards.

    Enydia *^_^*

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Post Re: questions about time

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post

    About after/before, I'm still confused.

    (I)
    The following two sentences are both from Practice English Usage (Michael Swan):
    That's a respectable book. I wouldn't want to contradict Mr. Swan

    (1) They started the job on 17 June and finished a week after.
    I'd say "a week later", but it's OK

    (2) When I went back to the town that I had left 8 years before, ...
    (or "eight years ago"), but it's OK

    Can I say as follows?
    (1.1) They started the job on 17 June and finished after a week.
    Certainly

    (2.1) When I went back to the town that I had left before 8 years, ...
    No, sorry. "eight years before" means "eight years before I went back"

    In my opinion, (1.1) and (2.1) are both grammatical, and (1.1) expresses the same meaning as (1), but (2.1) is different from (2).
    I agree. Precisely

    Suppose now is 2008, and I went back to the town in 2004. According to (2), I left the town in 2004-8=1996 while according to (2.1), I left in 2008-8=2000. So (2.1) has the same meaning as 'When I went back to the town that I left 8 years ago'. Am I right?
    No.
    (2.1) means that you lived in the town for less than eight years before you left; and now you're going back. Even then it's badly worded. It's not a parallel construction.

    In fact, I really feel very difficult to distinguish between 'a week after' and 'after a week'. :(
    Don't worry too much about it. You'll soon recognise when to say each phrase, and what it means without having to think too much about it.

    (II)
    Can 'after a week' be used in the future tense? Yes
    eg He will arrive after a week. (I think it should be '... in a week'.) "in a week" is better.
    I'd say "He'll arrive in a week's time"
    Bye


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