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READ FIRST: I was told to post my question here since it was put on hold from the other area of this site that deals with language. I have already looked up sentence examples, but it is still not clear to me. All I ask is for a CONFIRMATION that I am UNDERSTANDING the three words that I hear or read frequently. I did not get a good education like many others have. I have been in special ED up to 8th grade and then went to regular classes in high school going with the "tech prep" route instead "college prep" route. To makes things even worse, I am from South Carolina and many of the words that are spoken on the internet and printed in college level books, ARE NOT used much from where I am from. I simply want to cure any ignorance of my understanding of these three simple words that give me so much trouble. I don't think that is hard to do for this old 30 year old, ignorant southern man.

I need a sanity check to see if I truly understand what is meant when these words are used:

Examples:

Since.

"I have not seen her since yesterday".

"I have not been in special ED since the 9th grade."

This means that from yesterday to now, she was not around? The second sentence means that I have been in regular classes from 9th grade to now. (Yes, I was in Special Education many years ago. I am now 30 and have graduated from high school.)

Until.

"The store stays open until 5 PM."

This means that the store will stay open to 4:59 PM and closes at 5:00 PM. So you cannot enter the store when the clock strikes 5:00 PM in other words.

Follows.

Function name(X, Y) "The arguments to a function follows the function name in computer programming." (That was an actual sentence I read in a C++ programming book!)

This means that "(X, Y)" follows "name". So what ever I read first from left to right is the leader, and everything after is a follower that follows the leader going in this direction <<----- (Since we all read words in a left to right direction). Can the word follow be used where the leader is moving to the right instead and the followers are going this way ----->>?

  • I think this answer has a good explanation of the word since ell.stackexchange.com/a/15911/9161 I will come back when I have more time and write a proper answer that addresses all three words if someone else doesn't beat me to it. – ColleenV Jan 4 '15 at 13:34
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Since

You are correct.

The first sentence can have two meanings depending on the context.

You have not made an effort to see her, or you have not encountered her, even though she's available:

"She got a new hairstyle last week and she looks great."

"Oh, I didn't know she changed her hair. I haven't seen her since last month."

She has not made an effort (or has been unable) to see others:

"She hasn't been at work for three days and she's not answering her phone. Do you know where she is?"

"Come to think of it, I haven't seen her since last week."

Hopefully she's just sick in bed, not abducted by aliens.

Until

"Until" is basically a borderline in time, so a change happens once that line is crossed. If a store closes at 5:00, I would say that it remains open until 4:59:59. As soon as the clock hits 5:00:00, the store is closed.

For example:

"You are ineligible to get a driver's license until you're 16."

So the moment you turn 16, you can get your license. You don't have to wait until you turn 16 and a day.

Follows

"Follow" depends on context, but it can apply to any direction. Alice followed the White Rabbit down into the rabbit hole.

Since code is written left-to-right, then the "leader" is on the left and "followers" are to the right.

If you were writing in a right-to-left language like Arabic or Hebrew, then the "leading" letter in a word would be written on the right, and "follower" letters would be written to the left of it.

Context here is the key.

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When I hear "since", I think of "ever since". This is the point where something started:

Ever since my car accident, my radiator has had a leak.

"Until" is the opposite of since - it tells you when something stops.

Until my car accident, my radiator was fine.

"Follows" just means "comes after". The duckling follows the duck. The kickoff follows the coin toss. In programming, they are trying to establish that the (X,Y) is going to be immediately after the function name. "Follows" is also used to mean that a conclusion makes sense:

Since my radiator started leaking after my car accident, it follows that the accident caused the leak.

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