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Does "as" mean "at the time that " in the following sentences?

"As he finished the speech, the audience burst into applause." "As I was leaving, the phone rang."

Thank you very much!

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Yes, it does.

Both "as" and "at the time that" are vague about the exact timing of the events. However, they're both vague, so you can certainly use the one to explain the other!

As he finished the speech, the audience burst into applause.
At the time that he finished the speech, the audience burst into applause.

These both mean that the audience applauded just after he finished.

As I was leaving, the phone rang.
At the time that I was leaving, the phone rang.

These both mean that the phone rang during the process of leaving.


Explain, not replace. Using "at the time that", when "as" would suffice, would be long-winded and even clumsy. It would only be used if you wanted to put extra emphasis on the fact that "these happened at the same time".

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No

In first sentence, As means After

In second sentence, As means in the process of leaving

It's meaning depends on the context where it is used.

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  • But these are both equally captured by "at the time that". Or to put it another way, "as" and "at the time that" are equally vague, and so the latter can replace the former. ...actually, I'm going to go write this up as an answer. I think I can make it clearer with paragraphs. – Tim Pederick Jun 28 '14 at 15:09

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