Student or Learner
I have read previous posts regarding the use of before and until, and the explanation that usage depends whether it is a verb indicating state action or process. Still, I am having trouble applying these rules on the following example:
Several years passed until/before they met again.
I wanted to kindly ask you for the explanation for this example.
Thank you in advance for all your help.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
1. I was wondering whether you had checked Michael Swan's book. *
He feels that either word "can be used to say how far away a future event is."
His two examples are:
a. "It'll be ages until/before we meet again."
b. There's only six weeks left until/before Christmas."
2. I also found a fascinating idea from someone on the Web. **
a. That netizen gave two examples.
i. "He should be in [the] hospital for at least three weeks before he is allowed to go home."
(a) The netizen claims that if there is a time reference (such as "three weeks"), native speakers often prefer "before."
ii. "He should be in [the] hospital until he is allowed to go home." (There is no time reference.)
b. Since your sentence has a time reference, maybe ....
c. The netizen admits that native speakers do not always follow this "rule."
3. Like you, I am waiting for a very strict teacher to tell me which word is more appropriate (and why) in a sentence such as "Twenty-five years went by ____ they finally met again."
CREDITS:* I have the 1995 edition of Mr. Swan's Practical English Usage. His explanation is found in entry (NOT page) 575.7. / ** That netizen's user name is komountain, who posted on a grammar helpline called englishforums.