Using 'By' and 'Until' - Puzzled Words In English

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In this lesson you will learn how to use the words “by” and “until.”


“By” and “until” both speak of a particular point in time which is the endpoint or deadline of something or some task.

Glenn: We use the word ‘by’ when we mean something should end before a particular time or at that particular time. For example: I will meet Diana by 2 PM. It means I will meet Diana before 2 PM or at 2 PM.

Anna: Therefore we mean ‘at’ or ‘before’ a certain time. By the way, Diana’s flight is late. She’ll reach only by the evening.

Glenn: Oh! That’s right, I almost forgot. But don’t forget that “by” is usually used to denote a deadline. You’ll understand by the end of the lesson for sure!

Anna: Sure I will, Glenn! We use ‘until’ when we speak of something that ends at a particular time. For example: This lesson will continue until you understand it completely.

Glenn: Yes Anna, “until” means something continues to a certain point and stops at that particular point. Anna, will you stay until Glenn arrives?

Anna: Yeah, no problem. Mark doesn’t mind if I’m late until he’s real hungry, but I’ll have to be home by 8PM.

Glenn: Hey, why don’t you tell Mark to pick Diana up from the airport and come over here? It’s been months since we had dinner together!

Anna: Nice idea! Lemme call him up and find out if he’ll be free from work by the evening.

Lousy Flights.

Mark: Hi there, Diana! How was your trip?

Diana: Hello Mark! What a surprise! Oh! It’s the usual lousy flight schedules. I had to wait at the Geneva airport until the next flight.

Mark: I think it’s because of the hurricane, right? I didn’t think you’d arrive by 7 PM.

Diana: Yeah, that’s right. I was lucky to get a seat on the next flight.

Mark: C’mon let’s go, you look very tired.

Back to Africa!

Mark: You really do travel a lot, don’t you, Diana?

Diana: That’s a part of my job. I have to visit Congo again next week and I have to be there by Tuesday.

Mark: You travel to Africa often! What’s the deal?

Diana: I am doing a documentary series on African tribes and I’ll have to go there often until it’s completed.

Millionaire by Next Year.

Mark: I believe we should try and try until we succeed.

Diana : Is that why you keep churning out new business ideas even though so many have failed, Mark?

Mark : Hey! I don’t know how to quit. Anyway, my next idea is a great one. I will be a millionaire by next year.

Diana : Or maybe by the year after the next.

Mark : As long as it takes! I can’t stop trying until I succeed.

Diana: I must say Mark. Your spirit is awesome!

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