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The question above is an exercise in the usage of まで vs までに. I thought that because the action 時間がかかる continued until the bus arrived at the station, the answer should be まで.

However, the answer given in the exercise book is までに. But I don't understand why. (I guess the key is whether a Japanese speaker would conceptualize 時間がかかる as 瞬間的 or 継続的 but I am not sure.)

Could someone please explain why the answer is までに?

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  • Hi @Cabbage、I think you can find the answer here: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/40823/… – Makoto Dec 27 '20 at 18:17
  • @Makoto While the link you gave is useful in general, I can't see how it helps in this particular case. Do you have some additional insight about the nature of 時間がかかった? – user3856370 Dec 28 '20 at 10:06
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I'm a Japanese native, and 「道が混んでいて、バスが駅に着くまでとても時間がかかった」 would sound natural to me.

If I had to compare the two:

道が混んでいて、バスが駅に着くまでとても時間がかかった
道が混んでいて、バスが駅に着くまでにとても時間がかかった

I think the former sets the mental time to the moment the bus arrived, while the latter sets that moment in the past. I don't think it makes any significant semantic difference with this example though.

In the following example, the former sounds better (and the latter sounds unnatural).

車内が臭くて、バスが駅に着くまで息ができなかった
車内が臭くて、バスが駅に着くまでに息ができなかった

IMO this is because you couldn't breathe up until the point of time when the bus arrived. It'd be odd to say "you had finished not breathing by the time the bus arrived" (the latter phrasing).

In the following example, it's the opposite, and only the latter works.

車内が暑くて、バスが駅に着くまでアイスが溶けてしまった
車内が暑くて、バスが駅に着くまでにアイスが溶けてしまった

IMO this is because it's odd to say the icecream melted up to a specific point in time when the bus arrived (one wonders if the icecream might stop being melted at that point). It's more natural to say the icecream had finished melting by the time the bus arrived.

With the bus example, both are not unnatural ways of saying it, and IMO thus both work.

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