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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    until he will be leaving

    Martin Hewings's ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE has in it such a sentence:

    It's only a few months until he will be leaving school for college. (unit 11)

    I wonder how the future (continuous) tense can be used in an adverbial time clause.

    May I ask native English teachers to help me with this question?
    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: until he will be leaving

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Martin Hewings's ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE has in it such a sentence:

    It's only a few months until he will be leaving school for college. (unit 11)

    I wonder how the future (continuous) tense can be used in an adverbial time clause.

    May I ask native English teachers to help me with this question?
    Thank you very much.
    The sentence as written is fine. The distinction made by the choice of tense is one of preciseness:

    It's only six weeks until he leaves for college. [Measures time up to an event - 'actually leaving']

    It's only a few months until he will be leaving school for college. [Measures a rough period before the - indefinite - onset of a state - 'being about to leave for college']

    b

  3. #3
    henz988 is offline Member
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    Re: until he will be leaving

    It's only a few months until he will be leaving school for college.

    I've found this kind of definition of until , meaning before , in OED with examples (confirmative sentences like the topic one), but I cannot find this kind of usage in many other dictionaries. My question is,

    If I use before instead of until here, what's the difference of the writing style between them?

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by henz988; 24-Feb-2008 at 10:24. Reason: grammar term error.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: until he will be leaving

    Quote Originally Posted by henz988 View Post
    It's only a few months until he will be leaving school for college.

    I've found this kind of definition of so until , meaning before , in OED with examples (confirmative sentences like the topic one), but I cannot find this kind of usage in many other dictionaries. My question is,

    If I use before instead of until here, what's the difference of the writing style between them?

    Many thanks in advance.
    I wouldn't say there's any difference in writing style. You couldn't, for example, make any definitive pronouncement like 'X is more formal than Y'. I suppose you could argue that the distinction between the two is quite fine, so it's more likely to be made in a context where people take care over what they say and how they say it; so that if you had a corpus of formal language and a corpus of less formal language, the before/until distinction might be more common in the formal one. But it's perfectly OK to say, colloquially, either of these two:

    It was not long until he had to take a bite.

    It was not long before he was beginning to feel hungry.


  5. #5
    henz988 is offline Member
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    Wink Re: until he will be leaving

    A twenty-second time thank!

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