“Up Until” Or “Until”? Here’s the Difference (+15 Examples)

The phrases “up until” and “until” often appear in English when referencing time frames and other such things. Knowing whether to use up until or until is important knowledge that is best to learn quickly. So, let’s dive into it.

Is It Up Until Or Until?

Up until should be used when describing someone doing something until a very particular point. It’s often said they keep working or doing the activity right up until the end of the time frame. Until should be used when describing someone or something doing an activity to a point, but it isn’t used in as particular a fashion as “up until.”

When Should I Use “Up Until”?

Let’s start by looking at “up until.” It’s the most precise way of saying that someone or something is working until a particular point in time. Usually, that point in time will directly follow the phrase, like “up until midnight.” However, in most cases of this phrase, the “up” is considered redundant. This means it’s an unnecessary inclusion in the phrase. Typically, we say “right until” to indicate the same time frame instead.

However, many English speakers will use “up until” even though it’s redundant. Most people will say it rather than writing it.

5 Examples Of How To Use “Up Until.”

Now that we’ve explained how “up until” works, it’s time to look through some examples. This will give you a good idea of how the phrase should look in a sentence. You’ll notice how in most cases, we include the word “right” before “up until” to really emphasize the point that it is a very particular time frame. There’s a little more urgency about the phrase when we write “up until.”

  • She continued working right up until sunrise.
  • Up until I met you, I had no idea I could love again.
  • You can stay out up until midnight.
  • We partied right up until the next morning.
  • He worked hard right up until his boss told him to stop.

When Should I Use “Until”?

So, what about “until?” We typically use “until” in a less precise manner. It’s the most common way to say that somebody did something until a certain point, but that certain point isn’t always precise. The inclusion of “up” makes it seem like they stopped as soon as that time frame occurred. However, in this case, without “up,” we’re just giving a rough estimate of when they stopped doing what they were doing.

5 Examples Of How To Use “Until.”

Again, we’ll show you some examples of this. The sentences we can use are very similar to the ones using “up until,” but you’ll see that it’s much less precise with the context in mind. It’s just giving a rough time frame rather than a direct one.

  • She worked until sunrise.
  • He walked the park until sunset.
  • We shopped until the mall closed.
  • They taught me until I was too old.
  • I thought about it until I realized I didn’t care.

When Should I Use “Till”?

Now we come to a few extra sayings that you might come across. Even though we didn’t include these initially, we still think it’s wise to cover them so you understand how they work. “Till” is a common word used in English, but there doesn’t seem to be much explanation for what it means. That’s because “till” means the same as “until” in every circumstance.

In English, it’s possible to shorten words to fit your needs. So, if you come across a word like “until,” you’ll often find that people shorten it to “till” for ease. The trends like this mostly start through spoken English, but it doesn’t take long for written English to pick up on them. “Till” is grammatically correct and completely interchangeable with “until.” However, because it’s a shortened word, it’s best not to use it in formal settings.

5 Examples Of How To Use “Till.”

Let’s see how we can use that shortened word for “until” then. “Till” comes with very similar uses to “until.” It refers to a time frame ending at a certain time but isn’t as specific as “up until.” However, it’s also possible to say “up till,” as “till” is used to replace “until.” We’ll show you some examples using both so you can see how they work.

  • We spent all the time together up till she had to leave.
  • They worked hard till they couldn’t work anymore.
  • She spent money up till the point where her bank ran out.
  • I stayed awake till half three last night.
  • You can’t leave till the cat has eaten.

When Should I Use “Up To”?

There’s one final phrase we want to go through. “Up to” is very closely linked with “until” and “up until.” However, it also comes with a variety of meanings that we thought it best to cover, so you don’t get confused and end up treating it as a word with one meaning. The first meaning of “up to” shows the level something might have reached (i.e., up to our waist in water).

The second meaning of “up to” is that of being as many as a given number. We use this a lot when talking about capacity, price, days, or anything else like that (think “up to three days” or “up to four seats”). The third and final meaning we want to cover is exactly the same as we’ve mentioned about “up until.” It gives an exact time frame of when someone or something participated in an action.

5 Examples Of How To Use “Up To.”

To finish up, we’ll give you some examples of a few of the different meanings of “up to.” This way, you can see how it works in different sentences and know what to expect when you come across it next.

  • I’ve had it up to here with you.
  • The mud was up to my waist.
  • It’s got up to three seats.
  • I can spend up to one thousand dollars.
  • She worked up to midnight.