Question on tense


The question was given to correct the tense in this sentence:
"She won't be satisfied until she will have finished all her work."

Correct answer:
"She won't be satisfied until she has finished all her work."


I wonder why the first one is wrong. I also thought it would be correct to say
"she won't be satisfied until she finishes all her work." I am confused with the correct answer as I thought 'has finished' is only used to decribe an event that has happend in the past, yet still having effect in present time. 

asked Jun 03 '13 at 05:02 awef sawef New member

4 answers




This is a great question!


First of all, here are two grammar words I will use in my answer:


What is a subordinate clause?


A clause is a string of words that contains a subject and a verb; all sentences are clauses, and more complicated sentences often contain more than one clause.  When a clause cannot form a grammatical sentence, we call it a subordinate clause.  When it can form a grammatical sentence, we call it a main clause.  


For example, the sentence After she washed her hair, she got dressed has two clauses:  after she washed her hair and she got dressed.


After she washed her hair is a subordinate clause because, alone, it does not make a grammatical sentence; she got dressed, on the other hand, does make a grammatical sentence so it is the main clause.


What is a conjunction of time?


A conjunction is a word that can join two clauses to make a longer, complex sentence.  The most common conjunctions in English are and and but.   There are several conjunctions that describe when something happens, and they are called conjunctions of time.   For example: when, until, after, before, as soon as, by the time.


Could you follow all that? Now here is my explanation:

Why She won't be satisfied until she will have finished all her work is a mistake


The verb will have finished is the future perfect simple tense (FPS), and it is not necessary here.  FPS is usually used to talk about something, rendered FPS, that happens before another future event - for example, Next summer, I will have been married for 30 years.


It is an uncommon tense because it is an uncommon situation to need to order future events like this.  And it is not necessary to use FPS in a subordinate clause, especially when referring to the future using a conjunction of time.


Why She won't be satisfied until she finishes all her work is correct


Yes indeed, you are correct to think that this sentence sounds correct.  It is grammatically correct.  Present tenses are usually used instead of will + base verb (finishes instead of will finish) to refer to the future in subordinate clauses.


Why She won't be satisfied until she has finished all her work is also correct


You can also use the Present Perfect (has finished) to refer to the future in subordinate clauses, and when you do, it emphasizes the idea of completion more.  The idea of finishing sounds more important when you use Present Perfect.  It is a slightly different nuance.


So FPS is incorrect here, but both Simple Present and Present Perfect are correct.  If your assignment or test indicated that ....until she finishes was a mistake, your teacher is wrong.


I hope this is clear. Let us know if you have any other questions.

link comment answered Jun 03 '13 at 06:07 Shawn Mooney Expert

Thank you shawn!

This really helped me a lot!

link comment answered Jun 04 '13 at 13:15 sean New member

This is an adverbial clause (Adverb Clause of Time). Mostly, an adverbial clause is not written in  future tense.  

I shall reach there before she comes.

I shall take an umbrella with me whenever it rains.

link comment answered Jun 05 '13 at 10:02 Z. A. Jazley Contributor

This is a very reasonable question. I agree with the previous answers but also wonder whether you speak French or Italian. Both use the future construction (until she will have finished).

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 20:49 Katejo New member

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