Until has the sense that one thing cannot happen before another does. There is a sequential
relationship implied, and perhaps a causal one as well.
Ex: We cannot begin eating until Uncle Otis arrives. Not only would it be rude, but he always likes to
make the Thanksgiving toast.
Ex: Until now, everything had gone as we had planned. But once Tad arrived, things changed for the
As soon as, the moment and once
They are generally interchangeable within a sentence, all suggesting that only after one thing has
happened or some condition has been met, another thing may happen. As soon as and the moment
are more urgent than once, suggesting a hurry.
Ex: I told Frank to call me as soon as he gets home, so we can figure out what to do about this
Ex: I've told Frank to call me the moment he gets home, so we can work out what to do about this
By the time
By the time means that some condition will change in the future, once required events have taken
Ex: By the time you get to Phoenix, the sun will be rising. The sunrise is beautiful in the desert, so
make sure you bring your camera and find a place to pull over so you can get a picture.
Ex: I told Reggie that he was such a slow writer that by the time he finishes his essay for Mr. Barnes,
the next ice age will have started!