The words unless and until are often used together but their meanings are different, and often confused. Unless refers to a condition not being met while until refers to a time threshold not being crossed.

Comparison chart

Unless versus Until comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartUnlessUntil
Meaning Except for a specified condition. Up to the time of (something happening); Before (a time).
Example I will quit my job unless I get a pay hike. You can go out and play until it gets dark.
Antonym if since
Pronunciation IPA: /ənˈlɛs/, /ʌnˈlɛs/ enPR: ŭntĭl', IPA: /ənˈtɪl/, SAMPA: /@n"tIl/

Meaning of Unless vs Until

The word until is used in the context of time and roughly means before and up to the time. For example,

The word unless is used in the context of a precondition and means if this condition is not met. For example,

More examples

Here are some more examples for until and unless:

Using the phrase 'unless and until'

The phrase unless and until is commonly used, which often leads to people thinking that the two words mean the same thing. However, this phrase should be used when the situation calls for both a context of time and a precondition. For example, Paul's mother told him that he will not get to play with any of his toys unless and until his homework is completed. In this sentence, completing the homework is a precondition, as well as connotes the time horizon after which Paul is allowed to play with his toys.

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"Unless vs Until." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 20 Jan 2019. < >