Still vs. Until: What's the difference?

Still Or Until: What’s the Dif?

These two very common words are easy to confuse. They both relate to a measure of time. However, they have completely different meanings, and it’s important to know which one to choose. 

STILL

Use STILL to indicate that an action is not finished. There is usually an emotional reaction to a situation. 

  • I’ve been waiting for an hour, and the bus still hasn’t arrived.
  • Do you still have the jacket you borrowed from me last year?
  • She still hasn’t found a job even though she’s been looking for weeks.
  • Are you still watching the TV show, or can I change the channel?
  • I am still at the DMV because the lines are extremely long.
  • I don’t like what you did, but I still love you.

Look at the difference here:

  • The bus hasn’t arrived yet
  • The bus still hasn’t arrived.
Where is the bus!?

Both sentences mean the same thing. Yet states a fact: no bus. Still is used to add emotions to the fact. You’re annoyed or angry or nervous that the bus didn’t arrive when you expected it to.

UNTIL

Until is used to show change. We use until to indicate the time when a change occurred.

  • I didn’t have a car until last week. (Now I have a car. I got it last week.)
  • I will wait here until 3:00, and then I will go home. (At 3:00, I will stop waiting.)
  • I didn’t speak English until I moved to the U.S. (Now, I speak English.)
  • Please wait until Monday to call the library. (Don’t call before Monday.)
  • I didn’t know you were angry until you told me. (Now I know that you’re angry.)

As you can see, until shows that a change has occurred. it shows a moment in time that is different than the past. Note the differences between still and until in the following sentences:

  • I still don’t have a computer. (No computer in the past or present.)
  • I didn’t have a computer until yesterday. (I have a computer now.)

Practice:

Q: Are there things that you still have to do before you go to bed tonight?

A: Yes, I still have to…..

Q: What are some things we can’t do until we are adults?

A: We can’t…..until we become adults.

Choose still or until in your answer:

Q: How late are you working?

A: I’m working still/until 5 p.m.

Q: Are you finished working?

A: No, I’m still/until working.

That’s all there is to it! Now you know the difference between still and until. 

Until next time, have a wonderful holiday and happy New Year!