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    #1

    If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    Hello again!

    If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening, we can call this dinner.

    I think I know what the sentence really means.

    If our primary meal only happens in the evening, we can call this dinner.

    'Not until' means the same 'only .....'

    For example, 'not until Monday' means 'only on Monday', 'not before Monday', 'not earlier than Monday'.

    In the sentence in question, the word 'happen' separates 'not' from 'until', but I think it is clear that 'not' is strictly connected with 'until', hence the meaning 'only in' (in this example).

    Thank you.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    Hello again!

    If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening, we can call this dinner.

    I think I know what the sentence really means.

    If our primary meal only happens in the evening, we can call this dinner.

    'Not until' means the same 'only .....'

    For example, 'not until Monday' means 'only on Monday', 'not before Monday', 'not earlier than Monday'.

    In the sentence in question, the word 'happen' separates 'not' from 'until', but I think it is clear that 'not' is strictly connected with 'until', hence the meaning 'only in' (in this example).

    Thank you.
    I am not sure what you are asking. In the original sentence, the verb is "does happen". The not negates the verb. It still connects to "until".

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    #3

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    In my opinion as a non-native speaker, it might seem that 'not' negates the verb (happen), but when you transform the sentence it takes on another form whough the meaning stays.

    If our primary meal does happen not until the evening, we can call this dinner.

    I brought 'not' closer to 'until' in order to highlight the fact that 'not' directly influences 'until', although, in the original sentence, it is some distance away from 'until'.

    I am not trying to change the English grammar or its rules. I have been thinking about this structure for a long time.

    I would really appreciate any constructive answer to my question. If I am mistaken, please put me right on that.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post
    In my opinion as a non-native speaker, it might seem that 'not' negates the verb (happen), but when you transform the sentence it takes on another form whough the meaning stays.

    If our primary meal does happen not until the evening, we can call this dinner.

    I brought 'not' closer to 'until' in order to highlight the fact that 'not' directly influences 'until', although, in the original sentence, it is some distance away from 'until'.

    I am not trying to change the English grammar or its rules. I have been thinking about this structure for a long time.

    I would really appreciate any constructive answer to my question. If I am mistaken, please put me right on that.
    All I can tell you is that "does" is an auxiliary verb and "not" comes between it and the main verb. There is really no answer to a why question in this regard.

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    #5

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    As 'primary' can mean 'first' as well as 'most important', to avoid confusion it would be better to call it 'our main meal'.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    Quote Originally Posted by JACEK1 View Post

    'Not until' means the same 'only .....'

    For example, 'not until Monday' means 'only on Monday', 'not before Monday', 'not earlier than Monday'.


    I disagree with the part of your post highlighted above. In my opinion, "not until Monday" means "not before Monday" and "not earlier than Monday" but it does not mean "only on Monday".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    "If our primary meal only happens in the evening, we can call this dinner."
    Yes, 'only' is wrong. You could leave it out without any change in the meaning you want. But we call the evening meal dinner whether it's the main meal or not, don't we? (Actually in AusE, 'dinner' can be lunch, but that doesn't signify that lunch is the main meal).

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "If our primary meal only happens in the evening, we can call this dinner."
    Yes, 'only' is wrong. You could leave it out without any change in the meaning you want. But we call the evening meal dinner whether it's the main meal or not, don't we? (Actually in AusE, 'dinner' can be lunch, but that doesn't signify that lunch is the main meal).
    Ah, the great "lunch/dinner" or "dinner/tea" debate! And I won't even mention the word "supper" - oh, too late, I already did!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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