Rule 1: You should always put a comma before “until” when it is the first word of a non-essential part of the sentence.
- Correct: The team, until now, looked like title contenders.
- Incorrect: The team until now looked like title contenders.
Rule 2: You should not put a comma before “until” when it appears mid-sentence separating two clauses.
- Correct: The shop will be closed until further notice.
- Incorrect: She enjoyed working here, until they told her that her hours were changing.
Rule 3: When starting a sentence with “until,” you should put the comma at the end of the clause, and not after the word “until.”
- Correct: I will see you next week. Until then, take care of yourself.
- Incorrect: I will see you next week. Until, then take care of yourself.
Please keep reading the rest of the article to learn more about these rules and how to use commas with the term “until” correctly.
When to Use a Comma Before “Until”
When you need to decide when to use a comma before the word “until,” please refer to Rule 1.
Rule 1: Use a comma before “until” when it forms part of a non-essential part of the sentence.
Non-essential parts of a sentence mean that if you remove them, the sentence still makes sense.
Non-essential clauses can come in the middle of a sentence:
- The opposition team, until next time, have the upper hand over us in terms of wins.
Or they can come at the end of a sentence:
- They had never won a competitive game before, until today.
When to Avoid a Comma Before “Until”
To learn when to omit commas with the term “until,” please check Rules 2 and 3.
Rule 2: You shouldn’t use a comma before “until”when it appears in the middle of the sentence connecting two clauses.
On these occasions, if the word “until” is essential for the meaning of the sentence, you should not put a comma before or afterward.
- We listened to him until we couldn’t take it any longer. Then we left.
- I will be here until 8 pm tonight so stop by my office anytime.
Furthermore, the word “until” can be shortened to “till.” This short version is most commonly used to refer to times and dates.
- We are staying in Boston till this Sunday, and we fly back to Chicago on Sunday evening.
When to Use a Comma After “Until”
Rule 3: When “until” starts a sentence, you should place a comma at the end of the “until” clause.
However, you should not put a comma directly after the word “until.”
The word “until” commonly appears at the start of sentences in phrases such as “until next time” or “until then.”
As you can see in these examples, the comma comes after the clause rather than after “until.”
- That was a great game. Until next time, take care of yourself.
- My sister is getting divorced. Until then, she is staying with us.
Use a comma before “until” when it starts a non-essential element. However, don’t use a comma when “until” is necessary for the sentence to make sense. Furthermore, don’t use a comma after “until” when it starts a sentence, but you should put one at the end of the opening clause.