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Are you unsure about when to use "by" and when to use "until"?

Have a look at the latest Tip of the Week to find out more.


By and Until

Do you have difficulties remembering when to use by and when to use until? Try to complete the following sentences with the correct preposition. (You can find the answers below).

1. I’m on holiday    by / until   next Friday.
2. I have to be finished    by / until    9:00.

Did you complete both sentences correctly? If you did, congratulations! If you’re still a bit unsure, the following explanation should help you understand the difference.

By plus a time means “not later than.” It is often used to indicate a deadline. It focuses on the ending of an activity or situation.

Until tells us how long a situation continues. It focuses on the activity or situation itself, not the ending of it.

Look at the following examples:

By Until
Please hand in the report by Wednesday. I will work until I’m 65.
I have to be at the airport by 9.30 because my flight leaves at 11.00. I can’t leave the office until my boss returns.
I put the contract in the post today, so they should receive it by Monday. I will be on a business trip until Wednesday.
Tell me by tomorrow lunch time whether you would like to work on the project. Our English course lasts until 5.00pm.


Answers:     1. I’m on holiday until next Friday.        2. I have to be finished by 9:00. 

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