by vs until

by five

What’s the difference between “by” and “until”? 

 Check out the examples below and then use these words in your own writing and speaking. 

by = before a deadline
– I need to finish my reports by five o’clock. 
– I need to finish my reports before five o’clock. 

by = on or before a deadline 
– The package should arrive by Friday. 
– The package should arrive on or before Friday. 

Until = from a time to a deadline
– I’m going to work on my report from now to five o’clock. 
– I’m going to work on my report from now until five o’clock. 
– I’m going to work on my report until five o’clock. 
Until you arrive, we can’t start the meeting. 
– I’ll wait at the station until you arrive. 

Note: till = until 
This is usually a bit more casual. 
– I’ll be here till about five. 
– Can you wait till I get back? 

Practice examples: 

1. I’m working  _____ six.

2. I think I’ll be home _____ seven.

3. No dessert _____ you eat your vegetables.

4. _____ ten o’clock, I want to be in bed.

5. This offer is only available _____ Saturday.

6. Construction will continue _____ next summer.

7. Homework must be submitted _____ tomorrow at the latest.

8. I stayed up _____ four o’clock this morning.

BONUS CHALLENGE 
9. The train won’t get to the station _____ nine.

 

Answers: 
1. until     2. by     3. until     4. by     5. until     6. until     7. by     8. until

9. both ok
The train won’t get to the station by nine. = not before nine
The train won’t get to the station until nine. = from now to nine the train will be out of the station

Download the PDF above for fee or use it to practice in class with your teacher. 

Like this example? Did I forget something? Get in touch and let me know! 

Leave a Comment

  • Sign Up
Lost your password? Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.