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Usage of "until"

undrentide

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As mentioned in my previous thread, I'm still reading "Essential Business Grammar and Usage" to give short lessons to my colleagues who want improve their English.
Now we are reaching UNIT 78 (wow, in June it was only Unit 3!) from "Functions" section (saying when), and here's a sentence I got stuck at...

(After introducing in, at and on)
USES 1. We also use other prepositions to say when something happens.
....
We have until the end of the month to pay the invoice.

My understanding is when we are talking about due/deadline, we usually use "by".
e.g.
We have to pay the invoice by the end of the month.

My questions:
1. Does the sentence (We have until the end of the month to pay the invoice) mean "we have to pay the invoice by the end of the month but we still have time until the due date"?
2. If yes, is it possible to change the word order, i.e. "We have to pay the invoice until the end of the month" without changing the meaning?
 

Mike Cash

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No, that change would sound like the act of paying is continuous and ongoing throughout the time period.
 

undrentide

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Thank you so much, Mike, now it is clarified.

May I ask you another question?
Is it possible to rephrase it as: We have until the end of the month before we pay the invoice.
 

KirinMan

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Yes you can rephrase it in that way as well.

I would also add that using the word until, as in your example, would also mean that there is a deadline to pay. There is a stronger connotation to using the word "until" in this example rather than using "by".

If one were to read between the lines if you had said to me that "I have until the end of the month to pay the bill" it would come across as if I did not make the payment by that time there would possibly some sort of penalty assessed for failure to pay.

Depending upon the situation using "by" instead of "until" would not carry the same weight.
 

undrentide

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KirinMan, thank you for confirmation and further explanation.
That helps me a lot! :)
 

NikonGirl

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Just thought I'd add another use just in case you come across it: 'until' is also used as 'unless'. For example,
You cannot have ice cream until you finish your dinner.
The show will not start until everyone is seated.
 

Boris M

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Just thought I'd add another use just in case you come across it: 'until' is also used as 'unless'. For example,
You cannot have ice cream until you finish your dinner.
The show will not start until everyone is seated.

That is right, but i think that "until" in that sentence suggests that the process is still being done.
 

nice gaijin

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well, that's more of a conditional usage which translates to [once action A is completed, action B can happen].

In the original sentence, "we have until" refers to the amount of time remaining before a particular action must be completed (paying the invoice), like "You have until the end of the day to finish that report/I want that report on my desk by the end of the day"
 

NikonGirl

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That is right, but i think that "until" in that sentence suggests that the process is still being done.

I know, which is why I said, "Just thought I'd add another use just in case you came across it:". I simply added an additional use of the word. When I learn Japanese, I like to know all of the uses of a word. I thought I'd offer the same for someone learning English.
 
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