CEVAPLA - English

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What is the difference between ”till” and ”until” ?
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AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBgGeçen ay

In British English, ”till” and ”until” have essentially the same meaning, except that ”till” tends to be used in a much more informal manner than ”until” in speaking and writing. It’s used essentially like that in American English.

Note that there is an apostrophe for the American version - ’till - while it is absent from the British English one - till. Many Americans consider ”’till” to be incorrect. This is not the case! It has a lot of currency in usage for starters and is also listed in American English dictionaries such as ”Merriam Webster”. Additionally, standard style guides for American English, such as ”The Little Brown Handbook”, definitely list ”’till” as being equivilant to ”until”.

I suspect that the notion that it is ”incorrect” comes from the American convention of spelling it with an apostrophe. Often words containing an apostrophe like that are indications that they have been shortened in a colloquial manner. So people incorrectly assume that ”’till” is not ”correct English”.

It’s actually a good question as to why Americans write it with an apostrophe. My guess is that many have incorrectly assumed that it is a shortened version of ”until”, even though ”till” came first during Middle English. The extra ”l” in ”till” probably adds to their opinion.

”Till” turned into ”until” when the prefix ”un” was added, not meaning ”not” but in this case ”up to”.

  • AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBgGeçen ay
    No worries!

    I’ve made my own mistake in my explanation. There’s a comma missing - ”The Little, Brown Handbook”.

    Frequently, native speakers don’t get it right when explaining things to non-native speakers. I’ve seen it on many occasions with native speaker teachers who really don’t know their own language - and who were unwilling to check if they were not 100% certain.

    I’m sure that I’d also been guilty of this, but hopefully not too often
vincent profile picture vincentGeçen ay
  • - Till means the same as until.

  • - Till is not an abbreviation of until—it’s actually older than until—and it should not be written with an apostrophe.

  • - ’Til is also used but it is not considered as "correct English".

exRanger profile picture exRanger5 hafta önce
Note: in American English, the spelling is flexible, i.e., you’ll see it spelled with an apostrophe (’till) and without an apostrophe (till). Also note that some -- not many but some -- Americans spell this word with a single letter ”l”, i.e., ”til”. This is a bad practice but there it is.

Note also that there is also a completely unrelated word in English that’s also spelled ”till” which means to ”turn” soil for the purpose of agricultural preparation (planting, etc.). For example: ”The farmer used a hoe to till the soil.”