Difference Between Until and Upto

‘Until’ and ‘up to’ are the terms with the apparent difference that ‘until’ is an independent word whereas ‘up to’ is a phrase of up. ‘Until’ is used as the function word to depict the continuance of the pre-existing action. ‘Up to’ is used to say that something is lower than or equal to but not more than the stated value. 

Until vs Upto

The main difference between until and up to is that ‘until’ means to connect an action or any event at a specified point in time whereas ‘up to’ is used to demarcate the maximum amount of something. Both these terms can be used in varied forms when used differently as prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs.

Until VS Upto

‘Until’ it is used as both preposition and the conjunction preceding specific time or event whereas ‘Up to’ usually precedes a quantity of something. 

We can understand the two terms better with the help of the following examples:


  • Keep working hard until you reach your desired goal.
  • Match continued until it got dark.

Up to:

  • The course is expected to take up to two years.
  • It is up to the principle to take the decision.


Comparison Table Between Until and Upto (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonUntilUp to
DefinitionThe word is used to depict the continuing action in the significant time.It is a phrase used to depict the maximum amount of something or to present the responsibility of someone
Role of timeTime plays a significant role because the word precedes a time and event.
Ex. I can’t wait till morning.
Time is not of much significance because the phrase precedes the quantity of something. Ex. Up to yesterday, we had no information on a test.
Examples·      I will be on holiday until next week
·      Read the text properly until you understand it completely.
·      He will stay on the ground until the match ends.
·      I am sure that Jane is up to something because never picks up the call.
·      We can teach actors up to advance level here.
·      It is up to him to study seriously for the exams.
SynonymsBefore, prior, in advance of, pending, through, etc can be used in the place of until in most cases.Capable of, acceptable, likely, qualified, suitable, etc can replace up to in many cases.
Multiplicity of meaningsThe word until is largely used to the deadlines or the time before the deadline. Therefore, it doesn’t have many meanings.The phrase up to means many things at a time such as the maximum amount and the responsibility or choice of(someone), etc


When to Use Until?

‘Until’ is the word used to depict the time before the actual occurrence of the event or the action. The word is usually used with similar meanings in the context of its usage and is said to have been originated from the Middle English epistemologically meaning ‘as far as.’

The term is broadly used in two forms, as a preposition and a conjunction. Some of the examples given below will explain the usage better.

 As preposition: used as a function of a word to depict continuance of the existing action at a particular point in time. Ex-The doctor won’t be available until tomorrow.

 As conjunction: depicts up to a particular point in which means of action is drawn by a suitable conclusion. Ex- She ran until she was breathless.

Some of the synonyms that can be used as the word replacements are: before, in advance of, pending, through, etc.


When to Use Upto?

 One should keep in mind the major difference between ‘until’ and ‘up to’ is that ‘up to’ is a phrase of ‘up’ and not a singular word so to say. A phrase is a group of words put together to form a meaningful unit, there can be the number of phrases of up other than up to such as up for, put up, etc.

‘Up to’ can be used for the multiple meanings such as maximum limit/amount, good enough for, the responsibility of someone or information could be used as occupied or busy with. This kind of multiplicity could be explained with the help of examples as follows:

  1. Depicting the maximum amount: The construction will last up to two years.  
  2. Good enough/capable of: The essay was not up to the mark for the university.
  3. Responsibility of someone: It was up to the manager to make the choice.
  4. Occupied with [informally]: I know jack is up to something fishy.

Other words that can replace ‘up to’ are capable of, acceptable, likely of, suitable, etc

Main Differences Between Until and Upto

  1. One should know that there is a difference between the terms ‘until’ and ‘up to’ is that the former one is an independent word with one meaning whereas the latter is a phrase of the word ‘up’ which can have multiple meanings.
  2. ‘Until’ means to depict the ongoing action at a time whereas ‘up to’ can denote multiple meanings at a time. 
  3. Words that can replace ‘until’ are before, in advance of, pending, through, etc but ‘up to’ have different usages such to depict maximum amount, being good enough, occupied with, etc.
  4. ‘Until’ is bound by the presence of time whereas ‘up to’ is not bound by any such thing.
  5. The word until is said to have been originated from middle English meaning ‘as far as’ whereas up to being a phrase has no original depiction.  



‘Until’ and ‘up to’ are two different terms, one being the word and the other being the phrase respectively. To understand the terms better one should keep in mind that ‘until’ is an independent word whereas ‘up to’ is a phrase which is formed by the combination of two words namely ‘up’ and ‘to’ together. ‘Until’ means to depict the action at a time whereas ‘up to’ can have multiple meanings.


  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/until
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/up-to
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