Difference between ‘BY’ and ‘UNTIL’

 Finished watching the video, now it’s time to see how much you have learned from this lesson. Take the quiz below.

1. I will be taking care of my little sister_______ my parents come back from work.


2. I will have to complete the project report _________ evening.


3. I am so tired. I will sleep _______ noon tomorrow.


4. Stay here and don’t touch the computer mouse _________ I come back.


5. I need to turn in my assignments ________ Wednesday.


6. I will come to the party, but you need to take me home ________ midnight or else my mom will get mad.


7. Sam’s birthday party lasted_________ sunrise.


8. We cannot trust the company ________ they deliver the goods as promised.


9. Do not play games________ late. Do your homework.


10. I need to pay my house rent  _______ by December 10th.


Question 1 of 10

In this English grammar lesson you will learn the difference between the common words used in English  conversation  ‘by’ and ‘until’.


We use by to talk about a deadline and is always followed by a specific time and not later than.

  • We have to be home by 5’O clock.
  • The milk has to be consumed by 14th
  • I have to be at the airport by 8:20 PM

All the sentences indicate that an activity has to be complete before the specific time and not later than that.


Until is used in English conversation to talk about a situation that continues. We use until to talk about something that will keep going on for duration of time from a specific time to another.

  • Let’s wait until it stops raining.
  • David will be away until Monday.
  • I stayed in bed until late afternoon on Sunday.

In modern English ‘Until’ and ‘till’ are the same and interchangeable.

By the time

The phrase ‘by the time’ is used in two different situations:

  1. When something happens
  • It’s too late to go to the bank now, by the time we get there it will be closed.
  • Our holiday ends tomorrow so by the time you get the postcard, I will be back home.
  1. When something happened
  • I had a lot of work to do last evening. I was very tired by the time I finished it.

We hope this English grammar lesson has helped you to understand the difference between the words ‘by’ and ‘until’ and you would use them in your English conversation correctly.

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