'Until' is both a preposition and a conjunction. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.
'Until' as a Preposition
As was mentioned above, 'until' can function as a preposition. Below, we are going to learn all about it:
'Until' as a Preposition of Time
'Until' can be a preposition of time. Look below:
- When we want to state that something continues up to a particular point in time or a stated event, we use 'until'. Look:
The people kept on dancing
Let's watch a short film
- When we have to wait some time to get to a particular destination, we use 'until'. Look:
Get on this train and stay on it
That woman ought to wait a few more
Position in a Sentence
Please note that whenever we have a prepositional phrase at the beginning of the sentence, we must put a comma after it. Look:
'Until' as a Conjunction
Another function of 'until' is a conjunction. Below, we are going to learn all about it:
'Until' as a Subordinating Conjunction
'Until' is a subordinating conjunction that connects an action to a point in time. Take a look at the following examples for more clarification:
You won't reach your dreams
As you can see, 'until' is used to join two independent clauses here.
It will help you pass the time
Position in a Sentence
I think it's better if you help me cook dinner
As you can see, we have the subordinating conjunction between the two clauses.
Here, we have the subordinating conjunction at the beginning of the subordinating clause.
It might be helpful to know that in spoken English, native speakers mainly use 'till' instead of 'until'. Look:
Let me read you a story
Idioms and Expressions
We have some idioms and expressions with 'until'. Let us analyze them below:
- Until Doomsday: This one is informal and we use it when we want to talk about a very long time:
We will not see each other
It seems that humans won't be at peace with each other
- Not until: This one means 'not before'. Take a look below:
- Until now: This one is used in negative statements to show that something was not done until now, but there has been a change of plans. Look:
I had never given it a second thought
Here, it can be inferred that from now on, he/she will give whatever it is a second thought.
The cats weren't moving
Please note that we do not use future time 'will' in the clause with 'until'. Compare:
I will wait here
(Not I will wait here until the rain
They will arrive
(Not they will arrive until dinner
will be ready..)
Until vs. By
These two are slightly different and sometimes it becomes tricky to know which one to use. 'Until' is used when we want to indicate that something continues to the time mentioned. However, 'by' is used when we want to state that something must be finished and cannot continue after that particular time. Compare the following sentences:
I am only available to answer your questions
Here, it means that the action takes place till the specified time.
All students must've handed in their reports
Here, it means that the action cannot go on after the specified time.