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    #1

    by the time

    Hello everyone,

    I found this sentence in a text --the writer may not be an expert in English grammar though.

    Usually by the time I finish my calisthenics, the trustee comes by and fills my little bucket with hot water.

    What do you think of the choice of tenses? Is it casual English?
    What does "by the time" mean here: before / after / while doing my workout?

    How would you rewrite the sentence in academic English using "by the time"?

    Many thanks,
    Hela

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    #2

    Re: by the time

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Hello everyone,

    Usually by the time I finish my calisthenics, the trustee comes by and fills my little bucket with hot water.

    What do you think of the choice of tenses? Is it casual English? It's correct English. When we talk about a habitual or recurring action present tense is used.
    (I finish..he comes, fills)

    What does "by the time" mean here: before / after / while doing my workout?
    "by the time" means 'at or before the time', 'not later than the time'.
    Usually at or before the time I finish......the trustee comes.....

    How would you rewrite the sentence in academic English using "by the time"?
    It's a good sentence; it doesn't need rewriting.
    2006
    Last edited by 2006; 21-Apr-2008 at 23:19.


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    #3

    Re: by the time

    Hela,

    Whenever I hear that phrase, 'by the time', I'm reminded of the 60's hit song,

    ++++++++++++++++++

    By the Time I Get to Phoenix

    By the time I get to Phoenix she'll be rising
    She'll find the note I left hangin' on her door
    She'll laugh when she reads the part that says I'm leavin'
    'Cause I've left that girl so many times before

    By the time I make Albuquerque she'll be working
    She'll prob'ly stop at lunch and give me a call
    But she'll just hear that phone keep on ringin'
    Off the wall that's all

    By the time I make Oklahoma she'll be sleepin'
    She'll turn softly and call my name out loud
    And she'll cry just to think I'd really leave her
    Tho' time and time I try'd to tell her so
    She just didn't know I would really go.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    You can see Jimmy Webb, the songwriter, perform it here,

    YouTube - Jimmy Webb - By The Time I Get To Phoenix

    You can hear the guy who had the hit with it, Glen Campbell, by clicking on the link at the right side of the URL above.


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    #4

    Re: by the time

    Usually by the time I finish my calisthenics, the trustee comes by and fills my little bucket with hot water.

    As it stands, the sentence is depicting the everyday routine in the prison. Come tomorrow, and you will see it for yourself.

    After release, and then telling someone about his experiences, he might say/write:
    Usually by the time I had finished my calisthenics, the trustee would have been and filled my little bucket with hot water.

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    #5

    Re: by the time

    Hello David,

    As it stands, the sentence is depicting the everyday routine in the prison.
    Is it possible to use the article here, or should we say "in X prison" ?

    After release, and then telling someone about his experiences, he might say/write:
    Does "experiences" (in the plural) mean many adventures whereas "experience" (in the singular) means the fact of being in prison?

    Usually by the time I had finished my calisthenics, the trustee would have been and filled my little bucket with hot water.
    Do you mean would have come here?

    Many thanks


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    #6

    Re: by the time

    The sentence mentions 'trustee' and suggests this is taking place in a prison and not some banking/legal firm!. The sentence presumably comes well into some account of prison life, so we are talking about some definite prison and we would no doubt know its name eg Sing Sing.
    Hence, I used the definite article in referring to it.

    2. Yes. It's the difference between, "His experience of prison life", versus an account of incidents which happened whilst he was a prisoner.

    3. We are dealing with tenses here, and I foresaw a possible confusion that I tried to avoid by changing it from 'come by' to 'been'. Let me show you why:

    Now I sing / He is here / He comes by here
    Yesterday I sang / He was here / He came by here
    I have sung / He has been here / He has come by here

    By changing it to 'been', I was trying to move it towards a present perfect construction with a definite unmistakable change in the verb, as in the difference between 'sing', and 'sung' in 'has sung'.
    'come' is so associated with the forms, 'I come, they come - I have come, they have come' . Yes, it is 'comes' with 'he', but I wasn't taking any chances!


    the sentence then would be :"...the trustee would have come by and filled my little bucket..."
    Last edited by David L.; 22-Apr-2008 at 09:45.

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