мы там были до семи часов

eni8ma

Senior Member
English - Australia
Apparently this can mean:

We were there before 7 o'clock.
We were there until 7 o'clock.

That's two different circumstances.

"We were there before 7 o'clock" suggests we arrived shortly before seven o'clock.

"We were there until 7 o'clock" says we had been there for a while, then left at 7 o'clock.

Is there any way to distinguish which one is meant, other than context?
 
  • eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I know both meanings are possible.
    So I guess what you are saying is that on its own, the sentence is unclear.
    Since it came from a text book, with nothing before or after, either meaning is right.

    For the first meaning, would it be better to say:
    мы туда пришли до семи часов.

    I can't think of any other way to say the second meaning.
     

    Ezhevika

    Member
    Russian
    I know both meanings are possible.
    So I guess what you are saying is that on its own, the sentence is unclear.
    Since it came from a text book, with nothing before or after, either meaning is right.

    For the first meaning, would it be better to say:
    мы туда пришли до семи часов.

    I can't think of any other way to say the second meaning.
    If you want to show that you arrived there before 7 it is correct to say мы туда пришли до семи часов, but it would be even better if you say
    когда мы туда пришли, еще не было 7 часов (it sounds more Russian to me).
     

    Ezhevika

    Member
    Russian
    And a small remark on the phrase "мы там были до семи часов".
    If somebody said to me “мы там были до семи часов”, I would rather think that they stayed there until 7 and then went away than that they arrived there before 7.
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    And a small remark on the phrase "мы там были до семи часов".
    If somebody said to me “мы там были до семи часов”, I would rather think that they stayed there until 7 and then went away than that they arrived there before 7.
    Thanks - I had wondered if there was one meaning that stood out more :)
    That fits with the idea that до means up to (and including).

    Спасибо :)
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Either way to construe is possible.

    One, however, is understood by default, (we were there 'til 7), and another one has to have some context attached, like "Мы были на вокзале до 7-ми часов" in the context of "arriving". Remove the context, and the same phrase will mean "we were stuck (waiting, spent time) at the station up until 7".
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Приди(те), пожалуйста, до 19 часов/не позже 19 часов.
    Thanks. I know до can mean 'before', but in the original sentence, it was ambiguous.

    Приди(те), пожалуйста, до 7 часов вечера

    Спасибо
     

    Garbuz

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It looks such ambiguity occurs only with the verb 'быть' which may indicate both a state and an instant action. Maybe with some other verbs but nothing seems to cross my mind at the moment. Normally you would have "до"= before with terminative verbs and "до"= until with durative verbs.

    We slept until 11 a.m. - Мы (про)спали до 11 часов.
    We arrived before 11 a.m. - Мы приехали до 11 часов.
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Normally you would have "до"= before with terminative verbs and "до"= until with durative verbs.
    Спасибо - both for the explanation - and for yet more names of verb forms.

    So far - copulative, in|transitive, (negative?) - now also terminative, durative. Learning someone else's language is a great way to learn more about your own language. :)
     
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