6

I know both Until we talk at a later time, take care. and Until we talk later, take care. are correct.

But the situation is that when we get to start the talk someday, the talk will take place everyday and the talks will last more than a week, as it will be discussing an important project for a considerable period of time.

So regarding the circumstances above, I somehow felt that later time seems to be more appropriate than at a later time, because "at a" somewhat feels that it indicates it is just one time thing. I know I can just use later instead. But I want to know if I can use later time as in the following sentence in order to reflect the circumstances I explained in the above paragraph.

Until we talk later time, take care.

11

Rupert Morrish's answer provides a good alternative. But it's important to understand why "until we talk later time" is incorrect.

"Until we talk later" is a dependent clause. It modifies "take care." In this construction, "until" is a subordinating conjunction which introduces the clause. "We talk" is the subject and main verb of the clause, and "later" is an adverb which modifies "talk." The problem with introducing "time" here is that it does not grammatically fit. "Time" is a noun, but in this construction, "talk" is intransitive. There is simply no room for a noun after it.

On the other hand, "until we talk at a later time" uses a prepositional phrase. In this construction, "later" is an adjective, modifying "time." We then use the preposition "at" to connect it to "talk," which is still intransitive and still cannot take a direct object. The "a" is required because the phrase needs a determiner to indicate which "later time" we are talking about. If we don't want to imply that the "later time" is undetermined, we could consider using a different determiner. However, this really only works in the immediate context of discussing the next time we meet:

"When are we meeting tomorrow?"

"At 3:00."

"OK. Until we talk at that time, take care."

This is a bit clunky and artificial, but it does work. Note also that we dropped the "later" because the listener already knows it will be at a specific point in the future.

It would also be correct, if very slightly informal, to say "until we talk next time." This is only really allowed because "next time" is a fixed phrase that behaves like an adverb in this context.

  • 1
    It would be worth pointing out that ".. at the later time, ..." also makes sense in some contexts. For example, if only two times exist, and they will talk at both times, but there is an action to continue until the second time occurs. – Nij Mar 19 '18 at 7:28
  • +1 for addressing the wording from the original question – Darren Ringer Mar 19 '18 at 13:25
  • Thank you, so much. It is a perfect explanation, Kevin. Extremely helpful it is. – Smart Humanism Mar 20 '18 at 5:29
  • @Nij You mean at the later time can be used to mean the latter one of the two points in future time. Did I understand you correctly? Then at the earlier time can be used to mean the first one of the two points in future time? – Smart Humanism Mar 20 '18 at 5:32
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    Yes. In that context the phrase refers to a specific time, with later distinguishing it from the other earlier time, and vice versa, so the definite article is used there. – Nij Mar 20 '18 at 6:04
16

"Until we talk later time" isn't right. You could say

Until we talk later,

or

Until we talk again,

though the latter has a suggestion of not knowing when that will be.

My suggestion would be:

Until our next talk,

14

Your examples sound very unidiomatic. Typically, you'd say something like this:

Until next time, take care.

We'll talk another time. Take care.

We'll talk at a later time. Take care.

Or more informally:

Talk to you later. Take care.

Those are more or less standard ways to end your conversion with someone online or over the phone.

  • I understand what you mean here; though to me "we talk later time" sounds very idiomatic…of pidgin. It's meaning is simple and clear because it follows that simplified grammar but I agree that it sounds highly marked to any fluent English speaker. – Gossar Mar 19 '18 at 13:28
  • @Gossar That's a very good point. But here on ELL, we usually only teach by providing examples of standard, idiomatic English. – Michael Rybkin Mar 19 '18 at 14:08
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    Agreed, "Not as wrong as it could be" is still wrong. My quibble is simply with "unidiomatic" vs marked dialect. Sometimes whether a person is following a different set of rules rather than no rules at all makes a difference in how one teaches. – Gossar Mar 19 '18 at 14:31
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    @Gossar Pidgin may be simpler, but it is less, not more, clear. It might seem more clear to people familiar with that pidgin's specific simplifications, but that comes at a cost of being unclear to those unfamiliar. And this SE is to help foreign speakers learn how to speak standard English, not pidgin English. – Acccumulation Mar 19 '18 at 15:53
  • @Accumulation I don't mean to suggest that ELL should teach pidgin just that errors in standard English that come from an understanding of pidgin grammar differ slightly in nature from other types of errors. Calling it unidiomatic is a misdiagnosis in this otherwise good answer. – Gossar Mar 19 '18 at 16:46
2

As many have commented already, it definitely sounds like an idiom. This type of dialectical expression is heard around the Caribbean.

It doesn’t appear to be in violation of any rules of grammar but the phrasing is atypical of standard English usage.

Your understanding of the phrase, “at a later time”, having a connotation of being limited to one single time is incorrect. It is unbounded in the sense that any and all times that are in the future from this present moment are included.

To limit the future to a single occurrence the phrase would need to be, ‘at one later time’.

1

So regarding the circumstances above, I somehow felt that later time seems to be more appropriate than at a later time, because "at a" somewhat feels that it indicates it is just one time thing.

But if you tell someone to take care until some time, then that calls for a single time. It would be grammatically correct to say "Until we talk at later times", but it is logically suspect.

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