The sequence of tenses in the present

There are several ways to express time differences in the present:

  • When both actions take place at the same time, we use a signal word like während (while), solange (as long as), sobald (as soon as), wenn (if/when), etc., and both parts of the sentence are in the present tense:

Während wir arbeiten, schlafen sie.  arbeiten, Präsens schlafen, Präsens

While we are working, they are sleeping.

Wir haben keine Probleme, solange wir Geld haben. haben, Präsens

We have no problems as long as we have money.

Wenn du da bist, bin ich glĂźcklich.  sein, Präsens

When you are there, I am happy.

  • When one action takes place after the other, we use a signal word like nachdem (after) or seitdem (since) followed by a verb in the perfect tense. The verb that describes the later action is in the present tense:

Ich schlafe, nachdem ich gegessen habe. schlafen, Präsens essen, Perfekt 

I sleep after I have eaten.

Seitdem wir renoviert haben, kommen mehr Gäste. renovieren, Perfektkommen, Präsens

Since we renovated, more guests come.

  • When one action takes place before the other, we use a signal word like bevor (before), bis (until), ehe (before), etc., and both parts of the sentence are in the present tense:

Sie bezahlen, bevor sie fahren. bezahlen, Präsens fahren, Präsens

They pay before they travel.

Ehe wir fahren, essen wir.  fahren, Präsensessen, Präsens

Before we go, we eat.

Wir warten, bis alle da sind. warten, Präsens sein, Präsens

We are waiting until everyone is here.

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