Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Until or up until?

with 8 comments

Avoid writing ‘up until’. ‘Until’ on its own is enough.

If you write ‘up until’ you are, in effect, writing the word ‘up’ twice. See Oxford Dictionaries’ definition.


More commonly confused words


Written by Wordwatch

20/01/2010 at 2:35 pm

8 Responses

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  1. A basic rule might be, if you can take out one of the words without losing the meaning, do so.

    Maggie Manning

    20/01/2010 at 4:16 pm

    • That’s a very clear rule to bear in mind. Thanks for that, Maggie.


      20/01/2010 at 4:18 pm

  2. I was up until 2:00 thinking about this.

    Michael Farrell

    20/01/2010 at 5:03 pm

    • That’s very funny and also a very good point indeed. Many thanks! I should have made that clearer myself.


      20/01/2010 at 5:06 pm

  3. “I always looked like a girl up until a few years ago,” Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson told the Daily Mirror. I see at least one error in that statement.

    Michael Farrell

    25/01/2010 at 6:26 am

    • Thanks for that example, Michael (an excellent example of what I was originally talking about!).


      25/01/2010 at 7:26 am

  4. No wonder Southwest’s fares are so cheap: “Customers are eligible to purchase EarlyBird Check-in up until 25 hours prior to the flight’s scheduled local departure time.”

    Michael Farrell

    27/01/2010 at 3:00 am

    • That’s a really clear example of not needing the word ‘up’. It’s strange how it looks/sounds worse in some sentences than in others. Many thanks.


      27/01/2010 at 6:43 am

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