This is a long sentence for me. I am not quite sure that I understand. Can anyone of them explan the sentence structures for me?

It was not until he reached the city that the important officer discovered that the man whose seat he had taken was the one whose lecture he had flown to the city to hear.


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Ok, here's what it means.

The protagonist (A => the important officer) was flying to a certain city to attend a conference given by a man (B); it was only when he reached the city that A realised he had taken B's seat.

Is that clearer?
This is most likely a story of an embarrassing moment.

Two men are on the same airplane (with a bunch of other people). One of the two men is an officer (an important one) and the other one is a lecturer (also an important one). They don't know each other. They are both flying to the same destination, and with a common purpose, the lecturer to deliver a speech, and the officer to hear that speech. Each man has an assigned seat, but the officer takes the seat assigned to the lecturer (probably causing an argument between the two). Neither man knows until he arrives at the city, that they are connected in this way.

It's sort of like you honking, and shouting angrily, at the driver of the car in front of you, then discovering too late that the offending driver is your boss at work.
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Dear friends,

I think it is like this.

The important officer is going to the city to hear a lecture. He arrives at the airport. He is told that there are no seats on the plane. The officer is angry. He compels another passenger to relinquish his seat. The passenger gets off the plane.

Then the officer arrives in the city. He goes to hear the lecture. The lecture has been cancelled because the lecturer has not arrived. The officer discovers that the lecturer was the passenger who got off the plane.

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Emotion: smile
That was exactly what I understood as well.
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Yeh, Goldmund. I think I've been watching too much 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' on HBO.
Hi! Davkett,

Yes, I have got the meaning of the story, but I could not understand that " It was not until".

Could you please explain to me? Thanks

Please allow me to try to answer, Lynn, giving Davkett more time for a rest. I hope he doesn't mind.

Let's start by hoping that you know the [It is XYZ that ...] pattern which is used to emphasize XYZ.

This structure is commonly known as a cleft sentence.

If want to emphasize part of a sentence such as a word, phrase or even caluse, you should place it where XYZ appears. Examples are shown below.

Let's take the sentence "I saw Jimmy at the station yesterday,." and try to give some parts an emphatic effect.

<emphasis on 'I'>

It was I that saw Jimmy at the station yesterday.

<emphasis on 'Jimmy'>

It was Jimmy that I saw at the station yesterday.

<emphasis on 'at the station'>

It was at the station that I saw Jimmy yesterday.

<emphasis on 'yesterday'>

It was yesterday that I saw Jimmy at the station.

Now, let's try the same with another sentence. This time, the sentence has the 'not ... until' structure.

Remember that when you make a cleft sentence with this structure, the words 'not' and 'until' stick together like 'not until ...' (not separated from each other) Then you put this whole prase or clause in place of XYZ.

ex: I didn't feel his presence until he sneezed.

Cleft: It was not until he sneezed that I felt his presence.

Hope this helps.
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