How to translate “BIS” into English – English Lesson for Germans

How to translate BIS into English - it's not so easy!

Welcome to this online English lesson about translating the German word "bis" into English. Start by watching this video:


The German word “bis” is sometimes translated as “until” and sometimes as “by.” Some Germans always use “until,” but that’s not correct.

By – Can often be replaced by “before.” It means that the action will occur/be completed at some time before the given time.

Until – It means the action will be continuing for the entire time between now and the given time.

I will be in Spain until Thursday, but I will write you an email by Friday.
He sleeps until 10 am every morning.
His girlfriend leaves the apartment by 10 am every morning.
They will be at the bar until 5 pm.
They will be at the bar by 5 pm.

Now let's test your knowledge with some exercises.

Beginner Exercise:

Fill in the blank with either by or until.

1 – Please respond to the invitation _____ May 5th.

2 – I want to sleep ______ 2 pm, but I have to wake up ______ 6 am.

3 – I will be on vacation ______ Sept 30th, and then I will come back to Berlin.

4 – I will be at his apartment _______ 8 pm.

5 – I hope that we arrive in Hamburg _____ 7 pm so we can enjoy the sunset.

Advanced Exercise:

Answer the following questions, using either by or until in each one. Write your answers in the comments below to get personalized feedback. Remember, there are many ways to write an answer to these questions, but I want you to practice using by and until.

1 – How long do you want to live in your current city?

2 – How late do you normally work?

3 – When do you have to leave your apartment in order to be at work or school on time?

If you have any questions, feel free to write them in the comments below.

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