Community Web Version Now Available
Daniela Ancheo
Should I use the prep "at" or "by" in this sentence? Hi everybody I want to ask you a question related to preps in English. Which of these two sentences do sound better for you? By the time she got the news, she decided they had to manage the situation At the time she got the news, she decided they had to manage the situation. I guess the first one is better, isn’t it? Though I’m not absolutely sure about that. Thanks in advance
Aug 24, 2020 5:07 PM
7
0
Answers · 7
You can use either: By the time she got the news, she had decided they had to manage the situation (one action happening after the other) At the time she got the news, she had (already) decided they had to manage the situation. (2 actions happening together)
August 24, 2020
I think it depends on whether she made a decision before she got the news, or if she made that decision once she got the news (at the same time/right after hearing). If she made a decision before she got the news, you may add the word 'had' to make it clear that the action occurred before she got the news: "By the time she got the news she 'had' decided they had to manage the situation." If she made the decision as a result of hearing the news, you can simply say "Once she heard the news" or "when she heard the news", she decided to manage the situation.
August 24, 2020
They mean two different things. "By the time..." means " she had decided before she got the news, and you would be better using the pluperfect (so it would be "By the time she got the news, she had decided they had to manage the situation"). "At the time" means she made the decision at the same moment, or right after. hope that helps :)
August 24, 2020
Daniela Ancheo
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language
English