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It was not until after we had been on the highway for several hours that Peter asked me if I wanted stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat.

In my opinion, It ~ that ~ is a sentence that emphasize after “that” and be not (A) until ~ means not A before ~.

My questions are
1. How is two conjunction used continuously?
2. Explanations of the sentence of It be not until ~ that ~. Is it “not A until B” + “It ~ that ~”?

  • It ~ that ~ is a structure with no context. There has to be more in it to specify what is going on: It was before that moment ... or It was after that incident ... Your example includes only the structure It was not until ~ that ~ – Andrew Dec 10 '17 at 6:05
  • @Andrew What is the class of after in the sentence of question? How is it located just after until, which is conjunction? – Orient Dec 10 '17 at 6:51
  • "After we had been on the highway for several hours" is a phrase, possibly a prepositional phrase ... but I don't really care much for the fine distinctions of grammar terminology. – Andrew Dec 10 '17 at 6:56
  • It's a cleft sentence: Time expressions can be emphasised with It was not until ... and It was only when .... It was not until I met you that I knew real happiness. It was only when I read her letter that I realised what was happening. – Mv Log Dec 10 '17 at 9:01
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"It ~ that ~" is a structure with no context. There has to be more in it to specify what is going on:

It was before X that Y

or

It was after X that Y

Your example only explains the timeline of events, with no particular emphasis on the part of the sentence after "that". It's also not quite correct:

It was not until after we had been on the highway for several hours that Peter asked me if I wanted to stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat.

The entire structure is possibly a "cleft sentence" (according to Mv Log), while, "After we had been on the highway for several hours," is possibly a prepositional phrase.

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