both vs by the time

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hela

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2004
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Student or Learner
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Arabic
Home Country
Tunisia
Current Location
Tunisia
Dear Teachers,

1) Are Before and By the time synonyms? Are they interchangeable? If not, what is the difference between them?


2) Are the following sentences correct? What do they mean exactly?

a) It is strange that he should have left so early.

b) I wish I understood what they are saying.
c) I wish I understood what they were saying.

Thank you for your help.
Hela
 

Casiopea

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
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Other
hela said:
1) Are Before and By the time synonyms? Are they interchangeable? If not, what is the difference between them?

They share a similar meaning, yet they also mean different things. 'before' means, earlier than, whereas 'by the time' means, earlier than or no later than, for example

A. I'll be home before you start dinner at 6pm.
(earlier than 6pm, maybe 5:30, 5:45, etc.)

B. I'll be home by the time you start dinner at 6 o'clock.
(ealier than 6pm or at 6pm)

2) Are the following sentences correct? What do they mean exactly?

a) It is strange that he should have left so early.
b) I wish I understood what they are saying.
c) I wish I understood what they were saying.

a) and b) are not acceptable in my dialect, so, sorry, I can't help you out there. As for c), it means, I don't understand what they are saying, but I wish I did (understand what they were saying).

:D
 
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