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Question Come back before it is dark

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hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
would you say all the sentences? Do they have the same meaning?
(a) Come back before it gets dark.
(b) Come back before it becomes dark.
(c) Come back before it is dark.
(d) Come back before dark.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 

Michael2

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You could say all of them, and they would have the same meaning, but I would say (a) is easily the most natural of all of them because "get dark/light" is the natural collocation.
 

johnnyG

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Tho not ungrammatical, I don't think (b) is a natural/common way to say this--the other three are.

**

When I was a kid, "dark" meant something different to me than to my mother. So it was always, "Come home when the streetlights turn on."
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the interesting information, johnnyG.
Is it that you don't say "Come back before it becomes dark"?

And I'm not sure about something.
Who said, "Come home when the streetlights turn on", you or your mother?
Why was the word "dark" avoided?
 

DavidChiang

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Who said, "Come home when the streetlights turn on", you or your mother?
Why was the word "dark" avoided?
Hi hirashin!
It should be clear who said this sentence, everything else would be illogical. The term "dark" is basically relative because it does not define a specific point in time. His mother could also say, "Come home when the street lights are off". That would probably be at 5:00 in the morning.
 

hirashin

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That explains it. Thanks, David.
 
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