Tell me please if I need to use the before afternoon in the following sentence.

On Fridays I work until (the) afternoon.

I am aware that generally the is used with afternoon, but what about my example?

1 Answer 1


It isn't usually incorrect to drop the article, but we would be more likely to say "until the afternoon". This ngram shows the frequency with which they are both used.

As you probably realise, "afternoon" is a compound of the words after and noon. Noon is midday (another compound word!). As a compound noun, it refers to the whole time from 12 noon until whatever time you class as "evening". As two separate words, it just means anything after 12pm, so their usage is a little different.

Looking at your example, I don't think either is correct. This is because you are using the word "until", which means up to a specific point. Neither "after noon" nor "afternoon" are specific points in time.

I think you should say:

On Fridays I work until noon.

  • "On Fridays I work until noon." - Unless, of course, you work until some non specific (and varying) time in the afternoon.
    – PRL75
    Oct 31, 2022 at 14:16

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