Until vs. Unless

Difference Between Until and Unless

Until and unless there are two words in the English language that are often confused especially when they are spoken. It is because of the lack of necessary understanding of the meaning and the use of both words by the individual.

‘Unless’ is often used instead ‘if not’ as in the sentence ‘tour starts tomorrow unless I phone’. In the sentence you can see that the word ‘unless’ that are used to mean ‘if not’. It is understood that the tour will start tomorrow if I do not phone.

Sometimes ‘unless’ is used to mean ‘impossibility’ as in the sentence ‘I reach New York tomorrow unless there is a strike aircraft.’ ‘The possibility of strike aircraft is almost not there tomorrow. So I reach New York tomorrow. ‘This is the meaning that you will probably use the word ‘unless’.

The word until is on the other hand used almost like the word ’til’. It is also interesting to note that the two words ‘until’ and ‘unless’ that are used in much the same way. ‘Until’ is used in the conversation than in formal styles. Look at the two sentences:

1. I’ll wait until I hear from you.

2. I would not expect you for dinner until about midnight.

In both sentences the word ‘until’ is used in the style of formal conversation. You can also see that the word is used as a substitute for ’till’. Notice that both the sentences above can look good with the use of the word up as well.

Sometimes ‘until’ is used in the sense of ‘time up’ as in the sentence ‘He is usually in his office until 5’o clock in the evening. ”


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