The first thing we are going to do, before proceeding to determine the meaning of the term adverb of time, is to know where the two main words that compose it emanate from, etymologically speaking. Specifically, we have to raise these data:
• Adverb is a word that emanates from the Latin “adverbium”, which is made up of two clearly delimited parts: the prefix “ad-”, which is equivalent to “towards”, and the noun “verbum”, which can be translated as “ word”.
• Time, on the other hand, also comes from Latin. More exactly, it is the result of the evolution of the word “tempus”, which is synonymous with “time, moment or instant”.
The adverbs are the kind of invariant word that modifies adjectives, verbs or other adverbs, acting as the nucleus of the adverbial phrase or as a circumstantial complement to the verb.
Adverbs add circumstantial information to a sentence or word. The time adverbs are those that add temporary information. These adverbs provide, therefore, data that allow answering a question about when an action was developed, is developing or will develop.
“Now”, “before”, “after”, “today”, “While”, “early”, “late”, “early” and “yet” are some examples of adverbs of time.
However, the list of adverbs of this type is vast. In this way, it is also common to make use of others such as last night, yesteryear, the night before, yesterday, later, slowly, immediately, later, always or recently.
The expression “Now I am writing an email; as soon as I finish it, I will prepare the report “ refers to an action that is taking place at the moment. The adverb of time “now” lets us notice this.
“Before I worked as a clerk in a butcher shop”, for its part, is a phrase that refers to a job that a person had in the last. If other adverbs of time are added, it is possible to mention past, present or even future issues in the same expression: “Before I worked as a clerk in a butcher shop but now I am a manager of a supermarket”.
“Then I’m going to go and say hello to Martín”, “Today I woke up with a headache”, “While we walk through the center, we can look for the gift for Juana”, “It’s too early to tell”, “My boss challenged me for being late”, “The movie starts early, so later we can go to dinner.” and “I’m still sad about what happened to Saul” are other sentences with adverbs of time.
In the same way, it should not be overlooked that there are some adverbs of time that are specific to specific countries, so they are not used outside their borders. In this sense, a clear example is the adverb “horita”, which is used very frequently in nations such as Mexico or Cuba.
Likewise, the same situation occurs with “enantes, which is typical of Venezuela or Colombia, as well as with“ until ”, which has a special meaning in Ecuador and Mexico. In the latter case, we could clarify that it is used in phrases of this type: “The city’s cinema closes until twelve.”
All this without forgetting that there are also adverbs of time that are considered vulgarisms as “endening”.