The Difference Between “until” (까지) and “by” (까지)

When learning the Korean language, it’s important to understand the various particles and grammar points that differentiate it from other languages. Two commonly used particles, “until” (까지) and “by” (까지), often perplex learners due to their similar meanings. In this article, we will dive into the subtle yet significant differences between these particles and how they are used in Korean.

An In-Depth Explanation of “until” (까지) and “by” (까지)

While “until” (까지) and “by” (까지) may both imply a temporal limit, they serve different purposes and convey distinct meanings in Korean sentences. Let’s explore their nuances in detail:

1. “Until” (까지)

  • “Until” (까지) indicates the endpoint of an action or duration. It emphasizes that an event or action will continue up to a specific point and includes that point in its duration.
  • It is often used with verbs and phrases that signify a timeframe or a specific event.
  • Example: 저녁까지 일해야 해요. (I have to work until evening.)

2. “By” (까지)

  • “By” (까지), on the other hand, denotes the deadline or the point in time by which an action should be completed.
  • It does not necessarily imply continuous action but focuses on completion at or before a specific time.
  • It is commonly used with verbs and expressions involving deadlines, goals, or tasks.
  • Example: 과제는 내일까지 해야 해요. (I need to finish the assignment by tomorrow.)

To clarify the distinction further, let’s compare “until” (까지) and “by” (까지) using a table:

“Until” (까지)Endpoint of an action or durationUsed with verbs and phrases indicating timeframes or specific events
“By” (까지)Deadline or completion pointUsed with verbs and expressions involving deadlines, goals, or tasks

Exploring Subtopics to Understand the Difference Further

1. “Until” (까지) with Time Expressions

When “until” (까지) is used with specific time expressions, it highlights the exact point at which an action or event terminates.

  • Example: 오늘 밤까지 너에게 연락할게요. (I will contact you until tonight.)

2. “By” (까지) with Deadlines

“By” (까지) is frequently utilized when referring to deadlines for tasks or goals.

  • Example: 이메일은 내일까지 보내 주세요. (Please send the email by tomorrow.)

3. Time Duration and “Until” (까지)

The use of “until” (까지) indicates the total duration or length of time for an action to continue.

  • Example: 저녁까지 쇼핑을 할 거예요. (I will shop until evening.)

4. “By” (까지) and Task Completion

When discussing the completion of tasks or goals, “by” (까지) sets a fixed point in time for their accomplishment.

  • Example: 이 책을 다음 주까지 읽을 거예요. (I will finish reading this book by next week.)

5. Specific Deadlines and “By” (까지)

“By” (까지) is frequently used to denote specific deadlines for actions or deliverables.

  • Example: 보고서는 월요일까지 제출해야 해요. (The report needs to be submitted by Monday.)

By understanding these subtopics, learners can gain better insight into the distinctive features of “until” (까지) and “by” (까지) and apply them accurately in Korean sentences.

In summary, “until” (까지) emphasizes the continuity of an action up to a certain point, while “by” (까지) emphasizes completion or the deadline for an action. By recognizing their unique contexts and functions, learners can enhance their language skills and convey their intended meanings more effectively in Korean.