Definition of UNTIL

UNLESS Preposition and Conjunction

Until is a preposition and conjunction in English that indicates a point in time up to which an action or event continues.

UNTIL as a preposition

As a preposition, until shows the time up to which something happens. For example, “I will wait here until 5 PM,” indicates that the waiting will continue up to 5 PM.

UNTIL as a conjunction

As a conjunction, until connects a clause that specifies the time up to which something happens. For instance, “Stay in bed until you feel better,” means the person should stay in bed up to the point when they feel better.

Indicating Time Frame: Until is used to indicate the duration of an action or state. For example, “The store is open until midnight,” specifies that the store remains open up to midnight.

Expressing Deadlines: Until is often used to express deadlines. For example, “You have until Friday to submit your report,” means the report must be submitted by Friday.

Continuation of Actions: Until can show the continuation of actions or events. For instance, “She laughed until she cried,” indicates that the laughing continued up to the point of crying.

Negative Conditions: Until can be used to describe negative conditions. For example, “You can’t leave until the meeting is over,” means that leaving is not allowed before the meeting ends.

Sequential Events: Until can be used to describe events that occur in sequence. For example, “Wait here until I return,” indicates that the waiting will continue up to the point of the person’s return.

Formal and Informal Usage: Until is used in both formal and informal contexts. For instance, in formal writing, “The contract is valid until December 31st,” and in casual speech, “I’m not going to bed until I finish this movie.”

Interchangeability with ‘Till’: Until is often interchangeable with ’till’ in casual usage. For example, “Stay here until I get back,” is the same as saying, “Stay here till I get back.”

Clarity in Communication: Using until helps to specify time limits and conditions clearly. For example, “The offer is valid until stocks last,” precisely conveys the time limit of the offer.

In conclusion, until functions as both a preposition and conjunction to indicate the time up to which an action or event continues. It is essential for expressing time frames, deadlines, and conditions in clear and effective communication in English.

Examples of UNTIL in a sentence

UNTIL as a preposition in a sentence

  • She stayed at the office until midnight.
  • The store is open until 9 PM.
  • You can borrow my car until the weekend.
  • He waited until the bus arrived.
  • We worked on the project until it was perfect.
  • The children played outside until it got dark.
  • The show runs until the end of the month.
  • I won’t leave until you get here.

UNTIL as a conjunction in a sentence

  • Wait here until I get back.
  • I won’t be happy until I see you succeed.
  • They continued playing until it started to rain.
  • She won’t go to bed until she finishes her book.
  • We can’t leave until everyone is ready.
  • He worked on his essay until he was satisfied with it.
  • You should stay until the storm passes.
  • We talked until the sun came up.

Origin of UNTIL

The term until has its etymological origins rooted in Middle English and reflects temporal concepts associated with the continuation of a state or action up to a specific point in time.

  • Middle English Roots: “Until” originated from Middle English as a compound of “un-” (as in “unto”) and “till” (meaning “to” or “up to”). In Middle English, “until” denoted the continuation of an action or state up to a specified time or event.
  • Temporal Connotations: Over time, the term “until” retained its temporal connotations but expanded to encompass broader temporal relationships. It signifies the passage of time leading up to a particular point, often indicating the completion or cessation of an action or state.
  • Usage in Time Frames: “Until” is commonly used to introduce temporal clauses that express the duration of an action or state leading up to a specific moment or event. It emphasizes the timeframe within which a particular action or condition remains in effect.
  • Contemporary Usage: In modern English, “until” is a versatile word used in various contexts to denote temporal relationships or durations. It is employed in both spoken and written language to provide clarity and specificity in expressing temporal clauses and timeframes.

From its origins in Middle English to its contemporary usage, the term until embodies the nuanced concept of temporal relationships and durations, enriching language with its role in expressing the continuation of actions or states up to specific points in time.


  • Till
  • Up to
  • Before
  • Prior to
  • Up until
  • As far as
  • To
  • To the point of


  • Since
  • After
  • Past
  • Beyond
  • Following
  • Afterward
  • Subsequent to
  • Beyond


  • Before
  • Prior to
  • Till
  • Up to
  • As far as
  • To
  • Endpoint
  • Conclusion

🌐 🇬🇧 UNTIL in other languages

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