En cuanto/apenas/tan pronto como for as soon as (subordinate time clauses)

To indicate an action that happens just before another action starts, we use the following conjunctions to introduce a subordinate time clause that expresses "as soon as": 

en cuanto/apenas/tan pronto como = as soon as

En cuanto

En cuanto llegues a casa, llama a tu padre.As soon as you get home, call your father.

Nos ponemos colorados en cuanto nos vemos.We blush as soon as we see each other.

En cuanto termine este curso de italiano, voy a apuntarme a un curso de alemán.As soon as I finish this Italian course, I am going to sign up for a German course.

Mi novia siempre está esperándome en la puerta en cuanto salgo del trabajo.My girlfriend is always waiting for me at the door as soon as I leave work.

Apenas

Apenas abro la puerta de casa, me pongo las zapatillas.As soon as I open the door, I put on my slippers.

No te preocupes, apenas pueda ir al cajero sacaré 50 euros.Don't worry, as soon as I can go to a cash machine [US: automated teller] I will take out 50 euros.

Apenas me siento para descansar mis hijos me reclaman para algún juego.As soon as I sit down to rest my children want me to play a game with them.

Me dijo que fuera a su despacho apenas llegué.He told me to go to his office as soon as I arrived.

Tan pronto como 

Tan pronto como lo pille, lo voy a castigar sin salir dos días.As soon as I get hold of him he will be grounded for two day.

Tan pronto como me doy la vuelta, hace alguna travesura.As soon as I turn my head, he does something naughty.

Señora, la atenderemos tan pronto como terminemos con este cliente.Madam, we will be with you as soon as we finish with this client.

El gato se escondió tan pronto como me vio entrar.The cat hid as soon as it saw me come in.

Important:

The clauses introduced by en cuanto/apenas/tan pronto como can use the indicative or the subjunctive:

  • the indicative indicates that the action does happen/did happen, i.e. habitual actions or past actions
  • the subjunctive indicates a future action that is yet to happen
These conjunctions are interchangeable - they all convey the same meaning.
 
See also:
 
 

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Examples and resources

Me dijo que fuera a su despacho apenas llegué.He told me to go to his office as soon as I arrived.
Mi novia siempre está esperándome en la puerta en cuanto salgo del trabajo.My girlfriend is always waiting for me at the door as soon as I leave work.
Tan pronto como lo pille, lo voy a castigar sin salir dos días.As soon as I get hold of him he will be grounded for two day.
En cuanto termine este curso de italiano, voy a apuntarme a un curso de alemán.As soon as I finish this Italian course, I am going to sign up for a German course.
Tan pronto como me doy la vuelta, hace alguna travesura.As soon as I turn my head, he does something naughty.
El gato se escondió tan pronto como me vio entrar.The cat hid as soon as it saw me come in.
Nos ponemos colorados en cuanto nos vemos.We blush as soon as we see each other.
Apenas me siento para descansar mis hijos me reclaman para algún juego.As soon as I sit down to rest my children want me to play a game with them.
Señora, la atenderemos tan pronto como terminemos con este cliente.Madam, we will be with you as soon as we finish with this client.
En cuanto llegues a casa, llama a tu padre.As soon as you get home, call your father.
No te preocupes, apenas pueda ir al cajero sacaré 50 euros.Don't worry, as soon as I can go to a cash machine [US: automated teller] I will take out 50 euros.
Apenas abro la puerta de casa, me pongo las zapatillas.As soon as I open the door, I put on my slippers.
Clever stuff underway!