Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between By and Until

untilBy vs Until

The primary difference that comes to mind, is that by denotes the last moment in which something needs to be done, whereas until denotes the total amount of time one has to accomplish something. By therefore is more like an ultimatum, while until is like having grace time to get something done.

Thus it follows, that by is a little bit harsh by its implication, whereas until is kinder in what it implies. In common parlance, however, it can often mean the same thing. For instance, for us to say that one has to get to school at the latest by 8.00 am, or one that can have entry into the school by 8.00 am, practically means the same thing. However, if you technically analyze the first case, the interpretation is that you cannot enter the school later than 8.00 am, so you better make it on time. In the latter case, it implies you have time until 8.00 am, so there is no reason to be late. Is there any practical difference? No!

However, there is more than a subtle difference in other situations. For instance, if I am to finish a task by sundown, I am faced with an ultimatum. On the other hand, if I can finish a task until sundown; it may imply my capability of accomplishing the task within a certain time frame.

Until is deployed to imply a usage that defines an action, or activity, in a period prior to the time period that will follow the word, but not after that time. By, on the other hand, is used to denote an occurrence at, or prior, to a given time.

The two terms are quite different from each other, in the sense that the term by is the goalpost that has to be reached, and therefore, one needs to make hast; until, on the other hand, gives you a sense of all the time and opportunity you have to accomplish a task or need, and therefore, one may take heart.

You can try and climb a mountain by the end of the week, or you can try and climb it until you lose the strength in your limbs. The former gives you a definite time frame; the latter gives you the leeway to accomplish according to your capacity. The next time you use either term, be sure to use the one that best suits the situation.

Summary:

1. By denotes the last moment in which something needs to be done. Until denotes the total amount of time one has to accomplish something.

2. By is more like an ultimatum, while until is akin to having grace time to get something done.

3. Until is deployed to imply a usage that defines an action, or activity, in a period prior to the time period that will follow the word. By is used to denote an occurrence at, or prior, to a given time.

4. By is the goalpost that has to be reached. Until gives you a sense of the time and opportunity you have to accomplish something.


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