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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • China
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    #1

    served/ service until/before

    For starters, it took us over 25 minutes to get _____. We had been waiting for over an hour _____ we got our food.

    It is possible anybody could tell me why in the first blank, you should use served and not service and in the second blank why you should use before and not until?

    Thank you very much for you help.

    • Member Info
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    #2

    Re: served/ service until/before

    If you did not know already, you are now learning that, in China, many (if not most) native (Chinese) teachers of English know barely more than you do, so they often know only one way to express an idea.

    Also, Chinese schools do not encourage inquiry, debate, or independent thinking. A test will have a certain number of questions, and an equal number of acceptable correct answers. But of course English is not that simple! There are often several ways to express the same meaning.

    That said, in your second example, before is the preferred response, in my opinion. I think of doing something active and totally filling all the time "until" some later time, such as, 'We played cards until it was time to board the plane' meaning we didn't do anything else during that time. 'We played cards before boarding the plane' means that we played cards, but perhaps we did other things as well OR that playing cards was the last thing we did immediately before boarding. Perhaps a better example of that would be 'I went to the restroom before boarding the plane.'

    Context is very important in choosing between waiting before and waiting until.

    Circling back to your original example, I would most likely say it a different way: 'We waited over an hour to get our food.'

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    #3

    Re: served/ service until/before

    In a restaurant, service means "attention from the wait staff." Since the second sentence discusses waiting for food, only served is logical in the first.

    Waiting to be served ends when the food arrives. Since the waiting is then over, it happened before that time.
    I am not a teacher.

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