How long before OR how long until

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Balkenende

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In the following sentence:

How long before the light of stars fades?

...could I also use:

How long until the light of stars fades?

Are they interchangeable or is there an essential difference in meaning?
And would I need 'will' in either of these sentences?

Thank you,
Joost
 

bhaisahab

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In the following sentence:

How long before the light of stars fades?

...could I also use:

How long until the light of stars fades?

Are they interchangeable or is there an essential difference in meaning?
And would I need 'will' in either of these sentences?

Thank you,
Joost

You could use either "until" or "before. You don't need "will", however, you could rewrite it using it.
It's not a very natural sentence, though.
 

eunice65078

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Depending on what you are asking (star light fading at dawn? star light fading out forever?), to be more natural, you might say "How long will it be before/until the light of stars fade?"

I'm not a teacher, but have used the language at work and home for many years...
 

Balkenende

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It's part of a poem, where I have the freedom to be a little less 'natural'. ;)
 

Balkenende

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Thanks. As I said above, it's part of poem, and I don't have room for 'will it be' in that part of the sentence (the line of the poem).
 

emsr2d2

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If you weren't writing a poem where, as you say, you can write pretty much what you want, I would say it should be written:

How long until the starlight fades?
How long until the light of the stars fades?
 

Balkenende

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If you weren't writing a poem where, as you say, you can write pretty much what you want, I would say it should be written:

How long until the starlight fades?
How long until the light of the stars fades?

Well, not whatever I want. But you have to struggle with number of syllables, rhythm etc. And you can put things a little more poetically.

But otherwise, yes, I would write what you wrote!
 

Rover_KE

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Can you appreciate, Balkenende, that it would have been more helpful for us to know that you were writing a poem in message #1 rather than #4?

Rover
 
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