Adverbials of time

We use adverbials of time to say:

when something happened:

I saw Mary yesterday.
She was born in 1978.
I will see you later.
There was a storm during the night.

• for how long :

We waited all day.
They have lived here since 2004.
We will be on holiday from July 1st until August 3rd.

how often (frequency):

They usually watched television in the evening.
We sometimes went to work by car.

We often use a noun phrase as a time adverbial:


yesterday last week/month/year one day/week/month last Saturday
tomorrow next week/month/year the day after tomorrow next Friday
today this week/month/year the day before yesterday the other day/week/month





I have a question about "during" and when we have to use the article "the".

If I'm referring to any night and not a specific one, which is correct, "during the night" or "during night"?

Here's an example: "If you take a walk during (the) night, be very careful."

Thank you!

Hello Anda B,

'during the night' is correct and 'during night' is not – there is no good reason as far as I know, it's just that people say the first one but not the second.

Actually, many people would probably say 'at night' instead of 'during the night' because 'during the night' could imply the whole period of the night, which doesn't seem to be what you mean here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Is there a rule for the use of article after "during"? I have seen many examples with "during the.." and "during.." and I can't find a pattern. Are there restrictions or it just depends on how it is commonly used?

Thank you,
Anda B

Hello Anda B,

I'm afraid I don't know of any rule to explain this. As far as I can tell we'd use 'the' (or no article) after 'during' in the same ways as usual. In the case of the words 'day' and 'night', I'd say they're used so often that they've developed into fixed expressions like 'during the night', 'at night', 'during the day' (and there are many more).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Good night!

Could you tell me please, which one of these are the correct one? Is the idea clear?

1. Do you ever think about stop complaining about everything?
2. Have you ever thought of stopping complaining about everything?

Hello Daniel H,

The first sentence is incorrect. The second is correct but I suspect you mean 'consider', which is more usually expressed with 'think about':

Have you ever thought about stopping complaining about everything?


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good afternoon,

Will you please explain why the "during the summer" adverbial was enclosed in the "when" category and not in the "how long" one at the answers of the activity? Aren't "during the summer" and "from June to August" forms equivalent?

Hello Dragos,

Although it indicates a period of time that begins at one point and ends at another, 'during' is typically used to refer to that whole period of time, not to indicate duration. It's a subtle difference. You might want to look up 'during' in the dictionary search box on the right side of this page – the example sentences there could be helpful in seeing exactly how it works.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk
I have always been perplexed by the usage of "period of time". The only kinds of periods meant by those who use this phrase are time, so it’s a redundancy. Simply saying “time” or “period” would suffice. Both are time words. My 2 cents :)

Hello .. i can't understand the relation between the word " today " and the phrase "the day before yesterday" ?? how could us talk about this day and then we say ( before yesterday ) ? thanks