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If you say it happened three hours ago, why haven't you contacted us until/before now.

  • Does the sentence have the same meaning no matter which of "until" and "before" I choose?

  • Is one of them more natural than the other in a context like this?

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    I think you need something like: "why haven't you contacted us earlier?"
    – anouk
    Jun 10 '21 at 19:41
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"...why haven't you contacted us before now" sounds more natural to my ear.

If you want to use "until," the following construction works better:

If you say it happened three hours ago, why have you waited until now to contact us?

The word "before" (in the sense of "earlier than" or "sooner than") works as a modifier to the word "now", while "until" indicates a time span ending at a certain point, which when used with the negative construction "why haven't you" tends to be confusing.

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The phrase has been written slightly wrong. Try this

If you say it happened three hours ago, why haven't you contacted us.. until now/before.

The two are now fully interchangeable.


Theoretically the meanings are slightly different but in this instance the use is exactly the same.

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