Author Topic: Part 10 - The preposition as another type of functional connective - 4  (Read 5749 times)

Joe Carillo

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Timely Reacquaintance with Connectives and Discourse Markers


For 12 consecutive days from June 1 to June 12, 2020, the Forum is running a special retrospective of its comprehensive series in 2017 on the English connectives and discourse markers. These connectives—the coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, prepositions, and discourse markers—are the basic tools of English for enabling readers or listeners to navigate the sense and logic of what’s written or being spoken about. Today, the series takes up the prepositions that serve as connectives for timekeeping in English.


Part 10 - The preposition as another type of functional connective - 4

There are more than a dozen prepositions for timekeeping in English, and they are of three kinds: (1) the prepositions for specific points of time, (2) the prepositions for periods or extended time, and (3) the prepositions for specific time frames.



Let’s now do a once-over of each of them to heighten our level of comfort in their usage:

The prepositions for specific points in time, namely “on,” “at,” “in,” and “after”:

Use “on” with the days of the week: “They will come on Sunday [on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday].”

Use “on” for specific dates: “The Marawi City firefights erupted on May 23, 2017 [on May 23, on the 23rd of May, on the 23rd].”

Use “at” with clocked time: “The traffic enforcers start work promptly at 5:30 a.m.”

Use “at” with the following times of the day: “noon,” “night,” “midnight,” “sunrise,” and “sunset”: “The lovers first met at noon [at night, at midnight, at sunrise, at sunset”].

Use “at” with major holidays as points of time, specifically those whose names don’t carry the word “Day”: “The family gets together at Christmas [at Easter, at Thanksgiving].”

Use “in” with the following times of the day: “morning,” “afternoon,” “evening”: “Her work shift starts in the morning [in the afternoon, in the evening].”

Use “in” with dates that don’t carry the specific calendar day: “The Filipinos declared their independence from Spain in June 1896.”

Use “in” with months, years, decades, and centuries as points of time: “The Philippines regained independence in July [in 1946, in the 1940s, in the 20th century].”

Use “in” with the seasons as points of time: “The refugees sailed in autumn [in summer, in spring, in winter].”

Use “after” with events that happen later than another event or point of time:  “Easter Sunday in Christendom comes after a solemn Holy Week.”    

The prepositions for periods or extended time, namely “since,” “for,” “by,” “from...to,” “from...until,” “during,” “within,” “between,” and “beyond”:

Use “since” with an event that happens at some time or continuously after another time or event: “She has been missing her husband since he left for Dubai.”

Use “for” with particular durations: “We were together for two months.”

Use “by” with an act completed or to be completed by a certain time: “The contract will expire by June.”

Use “from...to” to refer to the beginning and end of an activity or event: “Their marathon meeting lasted from Monday to Thursday.”

Use “from...until” to refer to the beginning of one period up to the beginning of another: “The couple ignored each other from summer until winter.”

Use “during” to refer to a period of time in which an event happens or an activity is done: “The rivals badmouthed each other during the caucus.”

Use “between” to refer to an action that takes place between the beginning and the end of a period: “The board will decide between now and tomorrow.”

Use “within” to refer to an action that must take place or be completed within a given period: “We must fly to Tokyo within the week.”

Use “beyond” to refer to a period of time after a particular event has taken place or a particular time has elapsed: “Absolutely no entries will be accepted beyond the deadline.”

The prepositions for specific time frames:

Use “in” with the three basic time frames: “past,” “present,” “future”: “He was a successful entrepreneur in the past.” “She has no job in the present (currently, though, “...at present” is the preferred usage).” “In the future, please pay your electric bills promptly.”

Use “in” with prescribed time periods: “The counting may be completed in three days [in a week, in 15 days].”

Tomorrow, we’ll take up for last the prepositions that establish logical relationships.

(Next: Part 11 - The preposition as another type of functional connective - 5)     June 11, 2020
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 11:51:39 PM by Joe Carillo »