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Till vs. ’til

Here’s a thing I hate about English: The preposition till means exactly the same thing as until; it indicates something will continue to a particular time. These have historically been two separate words with identical meanings. Many people assume till is an abbreviation of until and spell it as ’til. Strictly speaking, ’til is wrong.

As language evolves, though, the abbreviated spelling has become widely used and fully understood. Merriam-Webster’s lists ’til as an acceptable alternate spelling. On the other hand, Dictionary.com says this is “usually considered a spelling error, though widely used in advertising.” Arrgh!

There’s also the annoying fact that till has several other meanings. It’s a farming verb that means to cultivate soil, and it’s also a word for a cash drawer. Which makes till‘s use as a conjunction totally annoying. We just don’t need this extra word.

Till we have agreement on this, the best advice is to always use until.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Complaints, Language

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