Conjunctions of Time 2 - by / from / until
a time limit for something to happen - an event
must occur before a certain time is reached.
- You need to finish this report by Monday.
- I'll be back by six o'clock.
- Our business will be making a profit by
There are three common
phrases used with by:
By the time
I want to be a successful businessman by
the time I'm 30.
By the time we arrive at the station,
the train will be gone.
They have four months to prepare for the soccer
game, so by then they should be a strong
The deadline for giving your essay is next Monday
at 4.00. If I don't receive your essay by
then, it won't be marked.
By that time
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.
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?
- "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. Please note that 'til is not considered formal English and should only be used in informal writing.
From ... to/until
From ... to/until
is used to mark the beginning and end of
a period of time. For example:
- Western people often work from Monday
to Friday, but Oriental people often
work from Monday to Saturday.
- I'm staying in Saudi Arabia from the
beginning of March until the end of August.
From ... to is slightly more informal
than from ... until.