Don't open the cover until the light goes out.

I am trying to rewrite the above sentence I created without using "until". My examples are as follows:

  1. Don't open the cover all the time (that) the light illuminates.
  2. Don't open the cover during the time (that) the light illuminates.

Which sentence is correct or better? As far as I searched, it seems they differ a little and "all the time" sounds unnatural to my case. "While" may be most appropriate, but I want to avoid using "while" for some reasons.

  • 1
    (2) is better, though I would say the light is on. All the time doesn't work with an instruction, though I couldn't tell you why. Jan 2, 2020 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


The second sentence is better.

I think the reason "all the time" doesn't work with an instruction is that it would suggest, in a way, that you should keep doing the activity throughout the entire duration, which is still illogical as time is continuous, whereas doing something, even over and over again, represents distinct events.

You could also say:

Don't open the cover when the light is illuminated.

(Obviously the better word, as you suggested, would be "while".)

(Note also that "is illuminated" sounds more correct than "illuminates", which can seem to suggest the single event when the light actually comes on. Also, as Kate Bunting pointed out, "the light is on" is much simpler and idiomatic.)

Another variation, though not as direct as a warning, would be something like:

You can only open the cover once the light has gone off.

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