As a native speaker of German, I have the habit of negating every sentence with the word 'until' or 'before' and every time I do that, my fiancee, who is American, calls me out. It sounds right to my German ears, but I can't explain why, though. She tried to give me some examples as to why it doesn't make sense in English, but I couldn't understand it. I hope someone in this forum can enlighten me.
Let's look at these sentences:
You can't buy the car until you do not have the money from the bank.
You should not change lanes before you do not see the car in the rearview mirror
Both sound natural to my German ears because it is something I would also say in German. However, my fiancee always gives me a confused look when I say sentences like the above. She says it should be like this:
You can not buy the car until you have the money from the bank.
You should not change lanes before you see the car in the review mirror
It sounds so off to me.The word 'until' suggests duration for me, as in 'from - to'. You can't do something from moment x to moment y, and y being the 'interruption' of that duration. That is, you can not buy the car as long as you do not have the money. I apply the same logic to the word 'before'. You should not change lanes as long as you do not see the car driving next to you in the rearview mirror.