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The scenario: We are outside of governmental office, and it's closed now. But it's understood that they're going to open it some-when soon but it's not understood exactly when. On the wall, near to the door, there's a small piece of metal in which the working hours are written on it. Now my friend looked at it already and I want to ask him about the times that remains, but I can use it at least in three types of tenses (and combinations of them as well):

How much time remains (or is left) till they open the office"? - present simple.

How much time remains (or is left) till they will open the office"? - future simple.

How much time remains (or is left) till they're opening the office"? - present progressive

How much time remains (or is left) till they're going to open the office?

Which of those should I use in the mentioned scenario?

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    The first version is perfectly natural. None of the others are. Alternatively, and at least as natural, ...until the office opens (who cares who opens it?). – FumbleFingers Dec 22 '18 at 18:58
  • Thank you. Your choosing in "until" instead of "till" in this context was a personal matter of style or it's more natural in this context? – Judicious Allure Dec 22 '18 at 19:04
  • When does it open? or How much longer til it opens? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 22 '18 at 20:48
  • Essentially a personal stylistic choice - but per this NGram, given my intention was to choose the most common option, it seems I made the "right" choice. – FumbleFingers Dec 23 '18 at 14:11
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I don't think any of those are awkward because of the tense. "How much time remains" is wordy, and it does not work in all the tenses:

  • How much time remains until they open the office? Okay but sound oddly formal, don't use informal "'til" here
  • How long 'til they open the office? Better, until/'til both okay
  • When will they open the office?
  • When are they opening the office? Sounds like opening in the sense of starting a new business.
  • When are they going to open the office?
  • When do they open?
  • Thank you for your answer (^1+). Can you please me explain the last example please? (="When to they open?" Did you not mean to write "When DO they open?"? – Judicious Allure Dec 22 '18 at 21:00
  • @Perplexedfolks yes, fixed typo. – Ben Jackson Dec 22 '18 at 22:31
  • @Perplexedfolks Also: The answer to any "how long..." version will be a duration, but the answer to "when" could be a duration ("in an hour") or the time ("at 1 o'clock"). – Ben Jackson Dec 22 '18 at 22:33
  • I disagree with [none] are awkward because of the tense. Even if we change the first component to the more common How long until / till / til..., all except the first version seem exceptionally "awkward" to me. – FumbleFingers Dec 23 '18 at 14:15
  • @FumbleFingers My point was that the problem with the sentences in the question was not a grammatical issue with using different tenses to form the question. – Ben Jackson Dec 23 '18 at 18:07

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