It was not until...that

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ocham, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Ocham Senior Member

    Tokyo
    Japanese
    Hi, I'm wondering if the construction is still commonly used or a bit old fashioned.

    It was not until I arrived at the classroom that I realized that I had left
    my dictionary at home.

    This construction is very famous here in Japan. But I don't think you use it
    in your daily speech. I think "It was only after I arrived at the
    classromm that ..." is more colloquial. Please tell me which is better.
     
  2. MenteECuoreProgressista Junior Member

    Florida, USA
    English - United States
    Both are acceptable, and I'm pretty sure both are still in common use. I would say that it is a matter of preference.
     
  3. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 Senior Member

    Midlands, England
    British English (Midlands)
    Quick Google searches produced these results:
    "It was not until" in Google Web = 3,390,000; and in Google News = 2,370
    "it was only after" web = 1,460,000; news = 528

    Ocham,
    Both constructions appear alive and well. What made you think that they might be old fashioned?
     
  4. Cypherpunk Senior Member

    Springdale, AR
    US, English
    As Mente says, both are still in use. I wouldn't say that either is terribly common in daily speech, but you still hear both phrases.
     
  5. Ocham Senior Member

    Tokyo
    Japanese
    Thanks a lot to all of you for your kind explanation. I've got it.
     
  6. Yichen

    Yichen Senior Member

    Chinese
    1. It was not until I arrived at the classroom that I realized that I had left my dictionary at home.2. It was not until I arrived at the classroom before I realized that I had left my dictionary at home. Is the second one correct? (I think it is.) And do they roughly mean the same thing?Thank you.(Sorry the post can only go like this from my phone.)
     
  7. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    We wouldn't use before with until in this way.

    I would be more likely to say:

    I had arrived at the classroom before I realized that I had left my dictionary at home.



    Actually, I would use a different verb in this version of the sentence:

    I had reached the classroom before I realized that I had left my dictionary at home.

     

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