I've one or two questions..

How [should or could?] you say this sentence?

Don't speak until I [tell, told, have told or what?] you.

2 Answers 2


You could write it any of those ways, but if you want it to be grammatically correct, you should write it like this:

Don't speak until I tell you.

Actually, I would probably say, "Don't speak until I tell you to."

What you are meaning is, "I will tell you to speak [later], so don't speak until then." Therefore, you can't use past tense.

If you use "told" or "have told", it would mean you already told them to speak at some point in the past, but still they need to be quiet... until when?

Not correct:

"Don't speak until I told you." (Means: "I told you to speak a minute ago, so don't speak until then." It doesn't make sense.)

Don't speak until I have told you. (Means: "I have told you to speak in the past, so don't speak until then." It doesn't make sense.)

  • Thanks that's clear .. can I take could as an answer for my other question?
    – user37421
    Mar 31, 2015 at 21:36
  • 1
    For your first question, "How should I write this?" is correct. "Could" means "what is possible". I was making a joke, that since you have a keyboard, it is possible for you to write anything. "Should" means, "what is proper", so that's what you want :)
    – Keiki
    Mar 31, 2015 at 21:41

"Don't speak until I tell you."

I think this is the most common way to utter/write the sentence.

  • What about the other choices are they less common or wrong?
    – user37421
    Mar 31, 2015 at 21:15
  • The only other choice that might work would be "Don't speak until I have told you what you did wrong." or something along those lines. Mar 31, 2015 at 22:34

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