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This may seem basic, but I genuinely think otherwise for some reason.

Implication: The army will be there UNTIL the border wall is NOT in a state of being built.

Sentence: “The army will stay until the border isn’t built.”

Is this grammatically correct for the implied meaning? I know it isn’t the best way to state it, but is it correct?

---Edit----

Part 2 to the post: Let's consider built means completed, and let's not get entangled in too many other technicalities too.

Sentence 1: “The army will stay until the border isn’t built.” Implication: The army will not leave until the border is completed. After it is completed, the army will leave.

Sentence 2: “The army will stay until the border is built.” Implication: The army will stay until the border is completed. After it is completed, they will leave.

Wouldn't these two sentences mean the same thing then? Like not exactly mean, but wouldn't they result in the same logical effect?

  • "Border" and "border wall" are meant to be synonymous and are used interchangeably throughout the post. – Kane S. Jun 26 '18 at 6:06
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No, that doesn't actually make sense.

Built does not mean the same thing as being built.

If the army stayed only until the wall "isn't built", and the construction on the wall is currently not finished, then the army would leave immediately (because merely being built would satisfy the condition of "isn't built").

Try this:

The army will stay until the border wall has been built.

  • Forgetting the technicalities of it being in the process of or being completed. If built were to mean that the border wall is completed, would the sentence successfully imply that the army would leave after it is completed (or built)? – Kane S. Jun 26 '18 at 5:39
  • @LitNetwork Yes, that's what my sentence means. In your edited post, Sentence 1 means the opposite. – Jason Bassford Jun 27 '18 at 3:22
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In a sense, the sentence ("The army will stay until the border isn’t built.") is grammatically correct but not for the intended meaning or, in fact, any other meaning.

The sentence is logically problematic because something "is/was built" (which is different than "being built") refers to the state of completion, which, once it happened, cannot "un-happen" (even if it's destroyed: e.g., a castle was built on this hill in the 10th century; it's not there any more, but that doesn't change the fact that it was built).

In your case, if the border wall is built (has been built already), the army can stay there until the end of time, but it will not change the fact. If it's not built, then there's nothing for the army to wait for: it's already the case (so it doesn't make sense to "wait until").

And if you want to get technical, a border cannot be built because it's an abstract concept (as opposed to the border wall), but you can easily take the word "wall" to be implied in such sentences.

What you're looking for is actually: "The army will stay until the border (wall) is built". If something is built (has been built already), it is by definition not in the state of being built.

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