Difference Between Until and As long As

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 08, 2023

       

Difference Between Until and As long As

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Introduction

It is easy to observe that the word 'Until' and the phrase 'As long as' are different in exactly that sense, 'until' is a word, and 'as long as' is a phrase. These two words have many surprising facts attached to them! Read on to learn more!

Unlike many synonyms, both words are spelled differently and sound different as well. However, if you have noticed, both words have almost the same meaning- If one were to look up the definition in the Dictionary, one would see that they differ only slightly.

Both of these words practically mean the same thing (they are both conjunctions if knowing that helps!) According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the word 'until' means 'up to the point that, or 'as far as'. Moreover, the same dictionary defines the word 'As long as' with one word i.e. 'if'.

Until vs. As long as

More Surprising facts can be observed when it comes to the usage of either of these words in a sentence. We will start to notice the differences between these unique phrases by doing this. For E.g., notice how the phrase 'as long as' is used in this particular sentence: You can have a kitten as long as you promise to take care of it!

On the other hand, look at how the word 'until' is used in this sentence: 'We played cards until midnight'. Another online Dictionary, namely Oxford Languages, defines the word 'until' as 'up to the point, or up to the event mentioned'.

The word 'until' is also considered to be a preposition! It might help to refresh one's memory - a preposition is a word used before a noun or a pronoun, usually to indicate direction, place, or time.

 The word 'until' is also considered to be a conjunction. Again, it helps to jog one's memory and remember some English Grammar rules. Conjunctions are usually used to connect two separate phrases, clauses, or sentences. The word 'until' can be used in verbal and written communication as a conjunction.

Similarly, the phrase 'As long as' is considered a conjunction. It is not a preposition like the word 'until'. Yet, as mentioned earlier, both these phrases are synonyms for each other since their meanings are not far apart!

The funny thing about the phrase 'as long as' is that, when it is translated into the Hindi language, it reads as 'Jab Tak Ki', which could mean 'until' when translated. It shows that 'English indeed is a funny language' but learning it is not as simple.

Now that the deeper meanings of both these words are somewhat clearer take note of this well-organized table. It describes some unique differences between both the phrases (and includes a few parameters of comparison as well)

Difference Between Until and As long as in Tabular Form

Parameter of Comparison Until As long as
Meaning until is used to indicate a certain point in time The phrase is used to mean a duration of time
Derivative The word is derived from 'und' which is an Old Norse word for as far as The word long derives its origin from the Old English and Dutch words lang or langa.
Usage The word ‘until’ is used both as a conjunction as well as a preposition The phrase ‘as long as’ is a conjunction and can be used as an idiom as well.
Synonyms some similar meaning words like ‘until’ are: up to, till, prior to, etc. words having a similar meaning to that of ‘as long as’ are in as much as, in light of, supposing that, etc.
Examples · We sang songs until evening. · He will not be able to leave the hotel until Saturday. · I can stay here as long as she wants. · As long as you study, you can pass the exams.

What is Until?

If one were to investigate further, Oxford Languages defines the word 'until' as 'up to the point in time or the event mentioned' To be more specific, the word 'until' describes a particular time in the future.

If one were to study the origins of the word 'until' we would find that it originates from the word 'und'. 'Und' is an Old Norse word for 'as far as' according to an online Dictionary called Oxford Languages. It also comes from the word 'till' on the other hand, which is derived from the Old English word 'Tila', which means 'A point in time that was planned' The word 'till' is still being colloquially used. However, the word 'Till' is being increasingly replaced by 'Until'

The word until is considered to be both a preposition and a conjunction as well. If it helps to refresh one's memory, a preposition is a word that is used before a pronoun or a noun to indicate a place or direction. The word 'Until' has the same function as prepositions such as 'in', 'at', 'of', 'to', or 'from'.

To understand the function of the word 'until' as a preposition, consider the following sentence 'The road outside our house will be blocked until 7 p.m.' As a preposition, the word until is usually used before something starts or something ends.

To better understand the function of the word 'until' as a conjunction, consider the following sentence: 'I won't start cleaning until you come home'. Here the word 'until' is used to join two sentences, i.e., 'I will not start cleaning' and 'I am waiting for you to come home'.

Some noteworthy synonyms of until are 'as late as', and 'prior to' etc. They all mean the same thing, i.e., 'up to the time that'. Similarly, some notable antonyms of until are 'following' and 'next'. For E.g., the use of the word 'follow' in the sentence 'She followed in her father's footsteps by becoming an athlete.

To understand the usage of the word 'until' consider the following text:

I never want to be mad

I don't want to fight

Nothing like that with you

Touching, lusting

Until the day

I can say you're mine

What is As long as?

Again, if one were to investigate further, Oxford Languages defines the word 'as long as' as 'during the whole time that' or 'provided that'.The phrase 'As long as' speaks of a more present condition during a duration of time (whereas until means a particular point in time in the near future). The phrase 'as long as' has been in use in both British and American English ever since the 1800s, and gives one the feeling of 'temporal extension'

The word 'as long as' is considered to be an English preposition. An example of a sentence where the phrase 'As long as' is used as a conjunction is: 'I will be staying at her apartment, as long as she takes to come back. The phrase 'as long as' is said to be an idiom. If you weren't aware, an idiom is a figurative language that is known to add character to stale or bland writing. A good example of a commonly used English idiom is 'under the weather. Usually, idioms or similar phrases are unique to their language of origin. Another more expressive idiom is 'Once in a blue moon'

 A few noteworthy synonyms of 'as long as' are 'in consideration of', 'in as much as', and 'in the light of'. Similarly, some notable antonyms of the same phrase are 'except if' and 'unless'. Often the phrases' as long as' and 'so long as' are used interchangeably. One ought to know that the latter phrase is a colloquial version of the first. There seems to be a hidden emphasis on the word 'long' in both phrases. However, take note of the following sentence 'As long as you believe in yourself, there will always be a way". The time duration or the length of time is not specified. The reader is advised to believe in themselves in general.

Consider again, the beautiful quote by Thich Nhat Hahn "As long as you find something good, beautiful, and true to believe in and abide by, you find the equivalent of God in your life" As long as usually is the preferred use depending on the meaning of the sentence. 

In this case, having an optimistic attitude means you WILL find God. Most optimists find something good, beautiful, and true to abide by anyway. So, again this quote is an exception to the rule. Also, the quote 'As long as you are happy with your life, you'll have fewer problems' seems to be the same kind of sentence.

The word 'long' originates from the Old English 'Lang' and proto-Germanic 'Langa', which both when translated mean 'having a great linear extent that extends from end to end'. Consider the phrase 'Auld lang syne' an old English saying which, when literally translated means 'Old long since'

Consider the following text to understand the meaning of 'As long as' and its usage:

'As long as forever

I will stay by your side

I'll be your companion,

your friend, and your guide

As long as I live

and as long as you care

I'll do anything for you

I'll go anywhere'

Difference Between Until and As long as in Points

  • Until is a word, (single word) and 'as long as' is a phrase (collection of words)
  • Both the words 'until' and 'as long as' have slightly different meanings. While until means 'up to a point in time', 'as long as' means 'during the whole time that' or 'provided that'.
  • The word 'Until' is a preposition. When used as a preposition, the word until is used before something starts and when something ends. As a conjunction, it is used to join two phrases.
  • The word 'As long as' can be used as a conjunction to join two phrases. As an idiom, it is used to liven up a bland sentence.
  • An example of a sentence, in which the word 'until' is used is 'We played cards until Midnight' whereas an example using the word 'As long as' is 'You can have a kitten as long as you promise to take care of it.
  • The word 'until' comes from the Old Norse word 'Und'. It is also taken from the word "Till", which is still used colloquially, but is increasingly being replaced by 'until'. The phrase 'as long as' on the other hand, has been in use in both British and American English since the 1800s.
  • Synonyms of until are 'till', 'up to', 'as late as', 'prior to' etc. whereas synonyms of as long as' are' considering that ', 'in as much as' etc.
  • Antonyms of until are 'following' and 'next', whereas antonyms of as long as are 'except if' and 'unless'.
  • While the word until is often confused with 'Till', the word 'As long as' is confused with 'So long as'
  • The word until describes a future happening, whereas the word 'as long as' speaks of a present condition
  • 'Until' describes the period between right now and a certain time in the future, while 'as long as' points towards a duration of time between two events.

Conclusion

We can see from the above write-up that though both the words 'until' and 'as long as' seem quite similar in meaning, they are not all that similar. While the former phrase is both a preposition and a conjunction, the latter phrase is considered both a conjunction as well as an idiom.

While the word 'until' also means 'till', 'up to', and 'prior to', the word 'as long as' also means 'considering that', or 'provided that'. Words that have the opposite meaning of 'until' are 'following' and 'next', and a few words that have the opposite meaning than 'as long as are 'except if' and 'unless'.


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"Difference Between Until and As long As." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 03 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-until-and-as-long-as-1190>.



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