Student or Learner
I never had anyone in the building to talk to_____ MEg moved in last year
a) by the time
I chose a but the answer was c. But I think they are equal in this situation. So anyone?
'by the time'
Look at this sentence:
By the time we get home from the airport, his plane will be half way to London.
Can you see that the sense is, at the moment one thing is completed, done, has happened, something else also has happened.
Your proposed sentence is:
I never had anyone in the building to talk to by the time MEg moved in last year.
So, by the time MEg moved in, something else had happened, been completed. That must be, "I never had anyone to talk to".
If we invert the sentence to make it even clearer:
By the time MEg moved in, I never had anyone to talk to.
This is not the meaning intended. The intended meaning is, I was lonely, no one to talk to until MEg moved in and so I could talk to him
Your proposed sentence means:
(I was constantly arguing with all the other tenants, and falling out with them,) so by the time MEg moved in, I had no one left to talk to because nobody would talk to me.
It no longer means, oh, goody, here's MEg, somebody to talk to at last. The sentence merely uses MEg as a reference point in time. You could equally have written:
By the time Christmas came round, I never had anyone to talk to.
Working from 2006's post, if until is similar to before, then by the time is similar to after or when:
Ex: I had no one to talk to after/when/by the time Meg moved in.
Ex: I had no one to talk to before/until Meg moved in.
The problem, belly_ttt, is that the negative adverb never isn't compatible with the phrase by the time:
Ex: I never had anyone to talk to by the time Meg moved in.
Ex: I never had anyone to talk to until, that is, Meg moved in.