Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

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un·til

until

 
 
pronunciation:
uhn tIl
parts of speech:
conjunction, preposition
features:
Note
part of speech: conjunction
definition 1: up to the time when.
We drove until the sun came up.
definition 2: before.
She can't watch TV until she does her homework.
definition 3: to the point that.
Anna danced until her feet hurt.
 
part of speech: preposition
definition 1: up to the time of.
We worked until evening.
definition 2: before.
He won't move until summer.
until or by?
By means before a certain time or at that time. By is used for an action that happens at one point in time, not for an action that continues over time. Until is used to express how long an action will continue and when it will end.
Compare:
  • The children should go to bed by nine o'clock.
  • The children can watch TV until nine o'clock.
  • I will be back at the office by noon.
  • I will be in the office until noon.