I found the following sentences in the Cambridge textbook,and I don’t know why there’s only “a” with “until”.

・until a quarter to five ・at quarter after four

I think “at” means the specific point, so it doesn’t need “a” before quarter, and “until” means more longer in time, so it needs “a” before quarter...but not sure. Please help me!

  • What is the title of "the Cambridge textbook"? What year was this textbook first published, please? English is constantly changing and some books are updated less frequently than they might be; they might also reflect regional/dialectal habits which are not universally followed.
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 16 '20 at 16:51
  • Any reference 15 minutes before (or to) or after (or past) the hour used to be referred to as "a quarter to/before/past/after" the hour. However in the UK I think the bulk of the population had already stopped using the indefinite article by about 1960. The BBC still used it for time checks but it was already sounding a bit odd to most of us. It's virtually disappeared in normal speech now.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 16 '20 at 17:56
  • 1
    In the US the article would normally be used.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 16 '20 at 18:39
  • Thank you for your great answer,Boldben!! It really helped me! Thank you,too Licks and Andrew!
    – Miki
    Nov 17 '20 at 6:02
  • The textbook is ‘English Pronunciation in Use, self study and classroom use’ by Mark Hancock, but I can’t find any info about the publishing year...sorry
    – Miki
    Nov 17 '20 at 6:04

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