In the sequence I took the key out of my pocket and opened the door, it is clear which action was first and which action happened second. You do not need to write anything else to show this. But sometimes it is not clear and you must use special words to show which was first or if the actions happened at the same time.

1 Same time


Tarik can pay bills while I balance our chequebook.
While I was doing my taxes, the computer crashed.


As I was leaving the bank, the teller called my name.
I saw she had my wallet as I turned around.


They were eating when I arrived.

2 Different times


[1]:EVENT 1, [2]:EVENT 2

[1] First, I'll pay bills. [2] Then, I'll balance my chequebook.

[1] She watched TV for a while. [2] After that, she went to bed.

[1] After I have balanced my chequebook, [2] I'll pay bills.


[1]:EVENT 1, [2]:EVENT 2

[2] I'll balance my chequebook [1] after I have paid bills.

[2] I found the message [1] when I arrived home.

[2] Before I pay bills, [1] I'll balance my chequebook.

[2] They ate [1] when I arrived. Compare with 1 c.

NOTICE: We cannot use will for future time with after, as, before, when, while. We use a present tense:

Have another coffee before you go. NOT will go

We'll arrest him while he's sleeping. NOT will sleep

NOTICE: If you are describing three or more events and you want to show the sequence clearly, put first at the beginning and put finally before the last event.

Download PDF
Download Word

Exercise 85.1
Exercise 85.2
Exercise 85.3