Distinguishing Between Till & Until

Till vs Until

Till and until are two commonly used words in the English language, often used interchangeably due to their similar meanings. However, there is a subtle difference between the two words, which relates more to their usage and convention than their meanings. Many people mistakenly believe that till is an abbreviation of until and use it in place of until, which is incorrect. This article will examine these words in more detail to clarify the differences between them.

Key Takeaways

  • Both till and until exist simultaneously and can be used in a sentence, but until is considered more formal.
  • Some people mistakenly believe that till is an abbreviation of until, but till is actually an older English word than until.
  • Until is more commonly used in written text than till, and is preferred at the start of a sentence.


Till is a preposition meaning “up to the time of.” In America, many people incorrectly consider it an abbreviation of until, and some even place an apostrophe before “til.” Till has been a part of the English language for quite some time, and it is not incorrect, contrary to the belief of many Americans. This is why till is more commonly used outside the United States. The fact is that when till is used as a preposition or a conjunction (not as a verb), there is not much difference between it and until.

Historically, “til” was the first to enter the English language in Middle English, followed by “till” and “until.” Many people feel that until is more correct and formal than till. Till emphasizes the time period that elapses or the time involved, as well as the action that takes place.


Until is both a preposition and a conjunction, but it cannot be used as a noun or verb like till can. The word “until” was formed by adding the prefix “un” to “till,” meaning “up to.” You can use “until” anywhere in a sentence, but when choosing between “till” and “until,” “until” is preferred at the start of a sentence.

Until can also be used with a negative connotation, which is not possible with till. For example, “Until I am paid the arrears, I am not going to take up a new assignment.” In this example, the individual is placing a condition on taking up a new assignment, saying it is dependent on being paid their arrears.

In conclusion, both till and until are acceptable and considered correct. Their main differences lie in formality, usage, and historical context.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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