Commas With 'Until'

If "until" or "till" comes at the start of the sentence, use a comma after the clause introduced by "until"—a clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb.

If "until" or "till" comes at the start of the sentence, use a comma after the clause introduced by "until"—a clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb.

Until you finish your homework, you cannot play video games.

Until you finish your homework you cannot play video games.

If "until" (or "till") comes in mid-sentence, the comma is generally unnecessary.

Wait here until I come back.

1. Starting a Sentence with 'Until'

When starting a sentence with a dependent clause introduced by "until", place a comma after the whole clause. A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb.

Until Mia was eighteen years old, she was not allowed to go to a party with alcohol.

Until Mia was eighteen years old she was not allowed to go to a party with alcohol.

Instead of introducing a clause, you can use "until" to introduce a noun or a noun phrase. In this situation, "until" is a preposition.

Until her next relationship, Rebecca stayed celibate because she thinks that casual encounters are difficult to enjoy.

The comma after an introductory phrase introduced by a preposition, like "until", is optional if the sentence is clear. However, the longer the introductory phrase, the more likely you will have a comma after it.

Until the end of the next month, the photographs will be on exhibition.

Until next Friday I won't be able to do it.

2. 'Until' in the Middle or at the End of a Sentence

2.1 General Rule

As a subordinating conjunction, "until" introduces a dependent clause (part of a sentence with a subject and a verb that cannot stand alone).

Peter continued to work at Harvard University until he retired in May 2019.

In the middle of a sentence, we do not typically place a comma before a subordinating conjunction, such as "until", to separate two clauses.

I was having fun until my worst enemy showed up.

You can also use "until" to introduce a noun or a noun phrase in mid-sentence. In this situation, we do not usually need a comma before "until".

Olivia went to bed early and slept until morning.

2.2 Can you have a comma before 'until'?

There are particular sentence constructions, however, where a comma before "until" may be required. For example, use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow.

The team, until the coach decided to substitute the striker, was playing well.

Use also commas to enclose nonessential phrases or expressions (extra information that does not change the essential meaning of a sentence).

Canada has been a country that has historically welcomed immigrants from all over the world, until today.

3. More Examples

  • I won't be able to do the job until next Monday, no matter how much you need it now.
  • Until Robert left Canada in 2020, he learned Spanish by watching Mexican TV shows.
  • We had six wonderful days until Rebecca arrived.
  • Most people used to send letters by post until recently.
  • James had to wait three weeks until the package arrived.
  • Until the sun sank below the horizon, we had a delightful conversation on poetry and literature.
  • Ava cleaned her shoes until they shone.
  • Not until September did the agency order an inquiry into the accident.
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