Since vs Until: Difference and Comparison

English grammar is one of the crucial principles when it comes to the study of language. Alas, this study can also be tricky and complicated.

Knowledge of vital grammar is necessary to scrutinize and enhance the conduct of your language. Grammar is the solution when it comes to boldly expressing the language of English.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Since” indicates the starting point of a period, while “until” denotes the end of that period.
  2. “Since” is used with a specific point in time, whereas “until” can be used with a specific time or event.
  3. “Since” is followed by a past event or time, whereas “until” can be followed by events or times in the past, present, or future.

Since vs Until

The difference between Since and Until is that Since is used to depict an action from a particular time in the past or when an event has already happened until it is used to describe something that is up to the time of another thing which will be taking place in the recent future.

Since vs Until

The main differences between the two words- Since and Until are that:

  1. Since it can be used as a preposition, an adverb and a conjunction.
  2. Since, as a preposition, it is followed by a noun. Example: Everything has changed so much since last Christmas.
  3. Connect an event to a point in time. Example: Rahim will stay here until Raj comes back with his umbrella.

 

Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonSinceUntil
MeaningThe word ‘since’ refers to when the event began, or the action has already happened.The word ‘until’ refers to when an event ends, or the action is yet to happen.
Grammatical formThe word ‘since’ is a preposition, conjunction, and adverb.Until can be considered as both a preposition and a conjunction.
Tenses usedThe tenses used with the word since are past perfect and present perfect tense.The tenses used with until are simple past, simple present, past perfect and present perfect tense.
As a prepositionThe word ‘since’ can be used after a certain period in the past. For example, I haven’t watched the lion king since 2008Until can be used up to a specified period; for example, we watched the movie until midnight.
As a conjunctionThe word ‘since’ can be used from a precise time until now. For example, I have been busy since I started my new internship.Until it can be used up to a specified time the event has been mentioned, for example, I will wait here until Shreyas arrives.

 

When to Use Since?

The word ‘since’ is a word that falls under prepositions, conjunctions, and an adverb with the elements of speech in the English Language.

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“Since” can be used in a sentence with respect to time and refers to that particular point of time in the past.

 General rules to follow when we use the word ‘since’:

  • We must use the present perfect and past perfect tenses when we use since in a sentence.

For example: 

  1. Correct statement: He has been out of his apartment since you last called.
  2. Incorrect information: He has been out of his apartment since you last called.
  •  The word ‘since’ must not be used to denote time in the future or the present.
  • Since it cannot be used to express the duration

For example:

  1. Correct statement: According to the register, no marriages at the chapel have occurred since 2006.
  2. Incorrect statement: The accountant may refuse the payment if the account holder has not made the payments for five months.
  • The word ‘since’ can describe why someone does something, or a scenario occurs.

For example, I cannot attend the wedding since I shall be on holiday with my family.

  • We use the word since and do not go after it’s a long time.

For example:

  1. Correct statement: It’s been a long time since your last letter.
  2. Incorrect statement: It’s a long time ago your previous letter.
since
 

When to Use Until?

Until can be used either as a preposition or a conjunction. The word ‘until’ is condensed to the word till or ’til. Till and ’til are not used for formal writing since they are informal.

The word ‘until’ can indicate an event to a specified time. The word ‘until’ can also refer to when a situation begins.

General rules to follow when we use the word ‘until’:

  1. From can be used with until to discuss when the action begins and when it ends
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For example, the park in front of our school will be open from 9 am until 6 pm tomorrow.

  • The word ‘until’ cannot be used to discuss quantitative data or numbers.
  1. For example, Correct statement: The elevator can take up to ten people at a time.
  2. Incorrect statement: The wedding hall can hold until two hundred guests.
  • The present perfect tense is used to signify events that will go on up to a particular point in the future.
  1. Example: Correct statement: Stir the tea until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Incorrect statement: stir the tea until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Past perfect and simple past tenses use the word ‘until’ to talk about past events.

Example: simple past: He was a professor at Oxford University until he retired in 2001.

  • Until it can be used up to the time expressed

For example: How can I stay awake until 6 a.m.?

  1. After the word until the present, verb forms can refer to the future.
  1. For example, Correct statement: I can’t wait to revisit Paris.
  2. Incorrect statement: I can’t wait until the summer holidays begin
until

Main Differences Between Since and Until

  1. As a preposition, the word ‘since’ is used after a certain period in the past.
  2. As a conjunction, since refers to a period in the past that continues up to the present.

References
  1. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/since
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/until

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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