Paul Burgmann
Could someone help me with this grammar stuff, please? Hi folks, I more than often struggle with sentence constructions like this: “I have to translate what I want to say in my head before I speak.” Could I replace “before I speak” with “before speaking” or “before I am speaking”? My gut feeling says no but this is not reliable enough I am afraid. Thanks! Paul
Nov 12, 2018 6:37 PM
Answers · 8
Hi Paul, To answer your questions about whether there is a difference between "before I speak” and “before speaking”, I would say there is no difference in meaning. In terms of grammar "before I speak" is an adverbial clause, and "before speaking" would be a reduced adverbial clause (more like a phrase now). It is just simplified and therefore a good way to vary your sentences so that they don't become too repetative. I hope that helps.
November 12, 2018
'Before I am speaking' is incorrect. But your other examples are grammatically correct.
November 12, 2018
Hi Keith, Thanks for your explanation. Am I right when I say “I have to translate what I want to say in my head when speaking.”? According to what I learned from your answer I cannot use “ when I speak” here.
November 12, 2018
when I speak = 'immediately after I speak/say something' eg: when I speak to him, he speaks to me. (first me, then him) when speaking = during the time that I'm speaking. :)
November 12, 2018
Thank you, Mohammed. Could you tell me whether there is a difference in meaning (“when I speak” vs “when speaking”), please?
November 12, 2018
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Paul Burgmann
Language Skills
English, German
Learning Language
English