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Home > Language > Grammar > Till and Until Compared

Difference Between Till and Until

Till vs Until
 

Till and until are two words that are used very frequently in English language. They mean the same, making people use them interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between the two words, necessitating proper usage of these words. There are many who feel that till is an abbreviation of until and use it in place of until which is wrong. This article takes a closer look at these words to come up with their differences that pertain more to their usage and convention than their meanings.

Till

Till is a preposition that means up to the time of. In America, many people incorrectly consider it as an abbreviation of until, and there are also people who put an apostrophe before til. Till as a preposition has been there in English language for quite some time. It is not that till is incorrect as is the belief of most Americans. This is the reason why till is more common outside US. The fact of the matter is that, when till is used as a preposition or a conjunction (and not as a verb), there is not much of a difference between it and until.

If one goes by the length of the time that til, till, and until have been around, it seems that til was the first one to have made its entry into English language in Middle English. Till and until appeared later on and there are many who feel that until is more correct and formal than till.

If one goes by its meaning, till means up to the point of time. One can see that the emphasis is upon the time period that elapses or the time that is involved. It also refers to the action that takes place.

Until

Until is only a preposition and a conjunction. It cannot be used as a noun or a verb as is the case with till. Until was a word formed by adding the prefix Un to till, to mean up to. If you are using until, you are alright to use it anywhere in the sentence but, when it comes to choosing between till and until, until is preferred when it is used at the start of the sentence.

Until is also used in a negative connotation, which is not possible with the use of till. Take a look at the following example.

Until I am paid the arrears, I am not going to take up a new assignment.

You can see that, in this example, the individual is actually placing a condition to taking up a new assignment saying that it is dependent upon him being paid his arrears.

However, you can use either till or until in a sentence, and both are acceptable and considered right.

What is the difference between Till and Until?

• Both till and until exist simultaneously and either can be used in a sentence.

• Until is considered more formal than till.

• Some people consider till to be an abbreviation of until.

• Till is an older English word than until.

• Until is more common and used in written text more often than till.


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