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電車が出るまで何か食べる時間があるぞ
There is time to eat something until your train leaves.

My English translation sounds rather unnatural. We would normally say "There is time to eat something before your train leaves". As such, I would have written 電車が出る前に... for the Japanese sentence.

Are both まで and 前に correct here? If so, why does まで work in this sentence?

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    Think of it this way: You have time to eat, until the train leaves, then you'd have time no more. The time to eat exists until the departure of the train.
    – dvx2718
    May 26, 2023 at 19:52
  • I am curious if you would still say "before" if "time" was not modified by "to eat ..."
    – aguijonazo
    May 27, 2023 at 2:31
  • @aguijonazo Interesting question. I think "there's time before the train leaves" and "there's time until the train leaves" both sound natural on their own. I think the reason I dislike "there's time to eat until the train leaves" is because eating takes a non-zero length of time. 'until' suggests that I can start to eat at any time up to the point the train leaves, but if I start at (or close to) the time it leaves I won't have time to finish eating. May 27, 2023 at 7:23
  • I think “to eat …” shifts the focus to the action of eating and therefore to one point of time at which it happens. In contrast, the focus of the Japanese sentence is still on the availability of time despite 何か食べる and it lasts for some time.
    – aguijonazo
    May 27, 2023 at 9:02

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The core part of the sentence is 時間がある, which in this context basically means you are free. That free time lasts until the train leaves and it can be utilized for eating something.

電車が出る前に何か食べる時間がある is not wrong but it sounds like you are stating there is snack time planned before the departure of the train on an itinerary or something. 〜前に is used to talk about the occurrence of some event before another event. The focus is on the relative positions of two points on the timeline.

ある in your sentence doesn't match this punctual image. It translates more to a line segment on the timeline and まで puts focus on the end of it.

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