"until such time as he would have finished"


We decided to wait until such time as he(our son) would have finished college, before asking him to take over our law firm.

If that is correct, is this OK as well?

I will wait until such time as you will have contemplated all the implications of your action.


Posted 2014-06-19T14:40:45.873




Until such time as is a use sanctioned in legal contexts, but as it adds no nuance of meaning it should be avoided in other contexts. Indeed, it should not be used in legal contexts either, except to echo the specific language of a specific law or regulation.

Use of futurive will/shall is likewise sanctioned in legal contexts, and is subject to the same strictures.

Otherwise we do not use will or would in until clauses. Anterior (later) reference is expressed with current-tense forms:

  • If RT (the reference time, the time we are talking about) lies in the present or future, we use either simple present or present perfect:

    We are waiting
       are going to wait
       will wait
       intend to wait
       have decided to wait   until he finishes college ... 
                           OR until he has finished college ...
  • If RT lies in the past we use either simple past or past perfect:

    We were waiting
       were going to wait
       would wait
       intended to wait
       decided to wait    
       had decided to wait    until he finished college ...
                           OR until he had finished college ...

Thus, we would say

I will wait until you have contemplated all the implications of your action.

StoneyB on hiatus

Posted 2014-06-19T14:40:45.873

Reputation: 176 469

I am afraid you are too simplistic in your answer. This is from a grammar book, and until and until such time as are two different things. as is relative adverb. So the future tense is possible unlike in the case of until. According to my grammar book. – None – 2014-06-20T04:34:58.373

@user8153 You are quite right. I was writing after reading Man_From_India's answer, and had in mind the elimination of such time as (which is very rare outside of legal contexts, and to be deprecated in all contexts). I have edited my post accordingly. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-20T09:03:31.930

So, my sentence in the thread is correct? the second one, though India says no. – None – 2014-06-20T09:11:17.903

@user8153 It is technically correct, but stuffy. The first is likewise technically correct, but should not be written because would have finished is almost always used as an irrealis, and would be understood in that sense by most readers. "Whatever can be misunderstood will be." – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-20T09:16:28.567


Since your question was about the tense and not the whole construction, I'll address that: this tense is called the "conditional perfect" and it is incorrect in this sentence.

Normally we use it when there is a condition stated (protasis) and a conclusion (apodosis), usually in an if-clause, but this is often left off when it's obvious.

For example:

If I knew you were in town, I would have invited you over for dinner.

In your sentence, there is no protasis, so the use of "would have" is confusing. I would have used the simple past:

We decided to wait until such time as he finished college, before asking him to take over our law firm.

As others have stated, that is rather wordy and clumsy, so a better sentence would read:

We decided to wait until he finished college, before asking him to take over our law firm.


Posted 2014-06-19T14:40:45.873

Reputation: 6 719


The phrase Until such time as is unnecessarily long and too much wording, and it's recommended that it should be avoided.

The process will continues until such time as some results come out.

Instead of the above quoted sentence we should write the following -

The process will continue until some results come out.

But essentially both of the quoted sentences bear the same meaning.

Now coming to your sentence, I will avoid until such time as, so in your sentence I will replace the phrase with simply until

Not only that in place of would have it's correct to write would in this case.

We decided to wait until he(our son) would finish college, before asking him to take over our law firm.

would have will be best suited in hypothetical situations.

And your last sentence with "will have" doesn't seem right to me. Because we use will have when we look back something from a specific time, with a sense of something happened certainly. Though the sense of certainty is to the speaker, it might not be true in actuality.

I will call him at 8 PM. By then he will have returned home.

The match will have started by now.


Posted 2014-06-19T14:40:45.873

Reputation: 10 615

It is funny that you claim something is too wordy, to follow it with "it's recommended that it should be avoided" - that is a bit wordy too, you can just say "it's recommended that it be avoided" or simply "it should be avoided". – oerkelens – 2014-06-19T15:08:37.953

Furthermore, there is a difference in meaning between "he would have finished college" and "he would finish college". The first (original) sentence indicates that in the past they decided to wait until such a time that the act of finishing college would have ended. Your version means they wait until he will be performing the act of finishing. Although they can be understood to mean more or less the same, I find the original wording more accurate, as it indicates that they wait until after college is over for him. – oerkelens – 2014-06-19T15:09:38.107

@oerkelens I agree. "Would have" also means past action. – Man_From_India – 2014-06-19T15:11:07.290

@oerkelens But again "would" alone also means the action happened in the past. "would have" I guess is better suited for hypothetical situations. – Man_From_India – 2014-06-19T15:14:19.360

In this sentence, would have finished and would finish are both equally (and hardly)_ hypothetical. They just refer to different things: the moment that college has finished, or the time during which he is finishing college. And the former is more appropriate here (which is probably why the author used it). – oerkelens – 2014-06-19T16:28:19.460