#EngClass: By / Until

Hi fellas! How are you? Ready for today’s session? We’ll start at 7pm tonight. Stay tuned!

Evening fellas! Today we’ll discuss the use of “By” and “Until” on our #EngClass.

By shows a time limit for something to happen – an event must occur before a certain time is reached.


  • You need to finish this homework by Monday.‪‬
  • I’ll be back by eight o’clock.
  • Our business will be making a profit by next year.

There are three common phrases used with by. They are “By the time” “By then” and “By that time”.

By the time introduces a clause in which the end-point of an activity is the time at which another act is ongoing or completed.


  • By the time we arrive at the station, the train will be gone.
  • I want to be a successful businessman by the time I’m 28.

By then have similar meaning with “At that time” but “By then” only refers to the future.


  • They have four months to prepare for the soccer game, so by then they should be a strong team
  • The deadline for giving your homework is next Saturday at 5 PM. If I don’t receive your essay by then, it won’t be marked.

By that time refers to a certain time in the future when an activity ends at which another act is ongoing or completed. 


  • We finished work at 9.00, but by that time it was too late to go out. 
  • I hope to go abroad next year, and by that time I’ll have enough money.
  • I ordered the ticket at 12.00, but by that time the tickets were already sold out.

Until means an action or situation continues up to a certain time.


  • We were working last night until 2.30.
  • You can stay at home until you feel better.
  • Can you wait until I’m ready?

Let’s compare until and by:

“I’ll work here until September.” This means I keep working here to September, then I stop.

“I’ll work here by September.” This means that I’m not working here now, but sometime between now and September I will start. 

Till is another form of until, the meaning is generally the same although until is usually used at the beginning of a sentence.

That’s all for today, fellas! Hope it could be useful for you :D

Compiled and written by @waitatiri at @EnglishTips4U at July 7, 2012

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