until/ before

navi

Banned
armenian
Are these sentences correct:
1-It was ten minutes before the end of the match.
2-It was ten minutes until the end of the match.
Do they both mean the same? (We had ten more minutes to play.)


Are these sentences correct:
3-It was ten minutes before he showed up.
4-It was ten minutes until he showed up.
Do they both mean the same? (He showed up after ten minutes)
I think 3 can also mean: Ten minutes were left to his showing up.
 
  • singsing416

    Member
    US
    Canada, English
    All of them sound a little awkward to me. If sounds as though you are talking about an event after it has already happened.

    My first instinct says that it would sound better to say "There were 10 minutes until the end of the match" for numbers 1 and 2.
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    navi said:
    Are these sentences correct:
    1-It was ten minutes before the end of the match.
    2-It was ten minutes until the end of the match.
    Do they both mean the same? (We had ten more minutes to play.)


    Are these sentences correct:
    3-It was ten minutes before he showed up.
    4-It was ten minutes until he showed up.
    Do they both mean the same? (He showed up after ten minutes)
    I think 3 can also mean: Ten minutes were left to his showing up.
    1- suggests that something happened. so "it ws ten minutes before the end of the match when I met Sally"
    2- suggests that you were waiting for the end of the match

    similarly with 3 and 4
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    navi said:
    Are these sentences correct:
    1-It was ten minutes before the end of the match.
    2-It was ten minutes until the end of the match.
    Do they both mean the same? (We had ten more minutes to play.)


    Are these sentences correct:
    3-It was ten minutes before he showed up.
    4-It was ten minutes until he showed up.
    Do they both mean the same? (He showed up after ten minutes)
    I think 3 can also mean: Ten minutes were left to his showing up.
    The "before" sentences sound fine to me. The "until" ones sound strange (but believable) especially number 4 - I can't put my finger on why though.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Before and until can be used interchangeably {It was an hour before (= until) the police arrived}.
     

    CAMullen

    Senior Member
    US, English
    They can't always be used interchangeably:

    "Three years before I went there, it had been a nice place" is not the same thing as "Three years until I went there, (etc.)," which makes no sense to me.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    CAMullen said:
    They can't always be used interchangeably:

    "Three years before I went there, it had been a nice place" is not the same thing as "Three years until I went there, (etc.)," which makes no sense to me.
    Hmmm, but interestingly "for the three years until I went there" would be OK (no?) - it seems these words are performing slighly different grammatical functions, but parsing was never my forte...

    (Well, when I say "ok" "before" would still sound better to me, but only in the way I prefer it to "until" in the original 4 sentences too)
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Wow! I would never say before and until were interchangeable ... in fact, this is how I would describe them:

    before is a preposition of time that places an action-event-whatever at a point in time, or during a period of time, in a prior relationship to another action-event-whatever;

    while until is a preposition of time that begins at a certain point in time or during a period of time, and extends through time to another designated point or period ...

    maybe I´m crazy (I spent many years teaching another language, and balancing the two languages against one another may have done long term damage :D)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top