Temporal subordinating conjunctions (conjunções subordinativas temporais) tell us when the action or event described in the independent clause has occurred or is occurring.
quando Play slow audio Play normal audio when
enquanto Play slow audio Play normal audio while
sempre que Play slow audio Play normal audio whenever
assim que Play slow audio Play normal audio as soon as
Eles comem, quando há comida. Play slow audio Play normal audio They eat when there's food.
A mãe vai às compras, enquanto o pai fica com as crianças. Play slow audio Play normal audio The mother goes shopping, while the father stays with the kids.
Sempre que ele está em Lisboa, nós jantamos juntos. Play slow audio Play normal audio Whenever he's in Lisbon, we have dinner together.
In certain contexts, you may see words and phrases like these used to set up the conditions that must be met in order for a future action to occur. When that happens, they are followed by verbs in the futuro do conjuntivo (future subjunctive) tense. For example: Quando tiver fome, faço o almoço Play normal audio Once I'm hungry, I'll make lunch
This is a much more complicated topic that we will cover in a later unit, but if you’d like to explore it now, you can read more here: Future Subjunctive
For now, we’ll focus on getting familiar with the meaning of each of these conjunctions in the following lessons.