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In another question the following sentence was corrected:

Sie wartete bis einen günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

to this:

Sie wartete bis zum günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

However, DWDS.de says that the "zu" is not always necessary. For instance:

Ich wartete bis Ende Oktober. #11

Wir warteten bis Montag, dann fuhren Frau Ubben u. Kreuzig nach Allrode. #12

Er wartete bis 10 Uhr. #37

Sie und Cornelius Friebott warteten bis elf Uhr abends zusammen im lichtlosen Zimmer, ob der Feind käme. #45

How does the first sentence differ from these such that a "zu" is required?

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    The accepted answer answers your question, but your second example is very undiomatic. In this case, you would use »warten auf« which can be followed directly by a noun; I'd say »Sie wartete auf einen günstigen Moment ...«. Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 22:27

2 Answers 2

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The usage note in the Wiktionary entry explains this. Basically, bis is not a 'normal' preposition since it's not followed by a noun except in certain cases. In the temporal sense it can be used with a specific time or date you can point to on a clock or calendar. So bis Montag, bis 2 Uhr, bis nächste Woche, etc. are okay, but with other nouns you have to insert another preposition such as zu. For example, it's common to hear bis zum nächsten Mal = "until next time" at the end of radio and television shows.

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Here is was a wrong correction given.

Sie wartete bis einen günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

to this:

Sie wartete bis zum günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung.

Richtig wäre: Sie wartete einen günstigen Moment der elterlichen Ablenkung ab.

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  • Yes, but that is about »abwarten«, the question asks about »warten«. Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 22:24
  • Although I had asked about warten, the insightful correction is additionally helpful to my translating, and I am grateful for it. I learned something I did not expect to learn. A bonus.
    – user44591
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 15:00

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