To express extended time, English uses the following prepositions: from – to (or from – until), until, since and for.
We use «from… to» or «from… until» to refer to the beginning and the ending of something.
The exhibition runs from 10 May to 20 August.
They lived in Berlin from 1990 until 2005.
We use «until» to show the end of the period.
Robert is going on a business trip tomorrow. He will be away until Monday.
Janet was in the library until 10 p.m.
You can also use «till» in the same way.
Wait here till I come back.
Compare «on» and «until». ON is used with days and answers the question «when» whereas UNTIL describes «how long».
How long will they be away? Until the end of the month.
When are they coming back? On 27 January.
Before / during / after
She did some warm-up exercises before the race.
He showed very good results during the game.
She was tired after the work-out.
In all this sentences the prepositions are followed by nouns. Unlike «during» which can be followed exceptionally by nouns, «before» and «after» can be followed by a clause. When you need to show that something happened in the process, you can use «while» instead of «during».
Don’t forget to switch off the light before you go out.
I often fall asleep while I’m reading a book.
They went home after they did the shopping.
Let’s compare «during» and «while» once again:
During + noun
We didn’t speak during the film.
While + verb
We didn’t speak while we were watching the film.
Remember that «for», not «during» is used to indicate the length of a period of time and is followed by a number or amount of time.
We watched TV for two hours.
They lived in Berlin for 15 years.
You can also use before / after + -ing (before going / after doing etc.)
Don’t forget to switch off the light before going out.
They went home after doing the shopping.