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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #109583: When : What tense to put behind...
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Future [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Vocabulary: greeting people - Future simple - Vocabulary: on the phone - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Express the future - Dialogue : What time...? - Conditional clauses
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    When : What tense to put behind...

    WHEN: What tense shall I put behind it? 


    If you ask students what tense must be used behind  'when', after thinking a little, they will inevitably answer: ‘ NO future!' ...  This is a strange and short way of expressing mixed up and badly understood rules... Let's try to see if things can be a little clearer... 


    1) You should always check whether the sentence is a direct interrogative:

    If it is the case (shown by intonation when speaking and the question mark when reading), then, the clause is a direct interrogative clause, or more simply, a question, and 'when' is a direct interrogative pronoun =>


                       WHEN + any tense or mode + ? =

    A direct interrogative clause introduced by a direct interrogative pronoun.


    ex:  When did you go to Australia? Three years ago. (when + preterite)

    ex:  When will you have coffee with me?  (when + future)

    ex:  When should he have left home ?  (when + modal)



    2) Sometimes, 'when' is preceded by a main clause introducing an indirect interrogative clause: 'when' is then an adverb.

    When =  at what moment?; I don't know; do you know? I wonder ( = I ask myself) ; I am (not) sure;

    The expression: the day when= relative pronoun) + future, is used in the same way.

    ex : He doesn't know when he will be able to come to see you. 


                           'WHEN' used in  AN  INDIRECT INTERROGATIVE CLAUSE=> is followed by the FUTURE.


    3) Very often, 'when' is a temporal subordinate conjunction, it then introduces a temporal subordinate and is NEVER followed by future.

    If the main cause is in the future (shall/will + verb) , the subordinate is in the present; if the main clause is in the conditional (would + verb), the subordinate will be in the past:

    ex: 'Will you still love me when I'm 64?'  (TheBeatles)

    ex:  He'll phone you when he knows the result of his exam. 



    Now, you have all the necessary elements to sort this complicated point out . I don't guarantee you will succeed right away (unless you think very carefully ! ) ... but I'm sure you will do it!  

    Force and courage !                               

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    1) When him the photo you have promised him?

    2) Do you know when your friend Claire ?

    3) I will give you my bike when my parents a new one for me...

    4) Sandra, I will be very glad when your room up at last!

    5) I wonder when big enough to ride regular bicycles.

    6) I'm not sure when how to swim perfectly...

    7) Do you know when your father back? Yes, I do... In two days...

    8) You'll have a rest when too tired!

    9) We'll send you a text when their train in the station, and will be at your place 10 minutes later.

    10) When you ready, we'll go and have a cup of tea together...

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