Difference Between Until and Till (With Table)

Many people are unaware of the brevity present in English. Brevity is a virtue of English that means conciseness and exact usage of words in speech or writing. There are complicated sentences in English which need proper understanding. The same thing applies to complicated words also. There are words that take up the concept of brevity. Such an example of brevity is seen in the case of Until and Till. 

Until vs Till

The difference between ‘until’ and ’till’ is that ’till’ is much older than until. It is approximately several hundred years older than until. Both ‘until’ and ’till’ have the same meaning, and both words are correct. They are used to indicate that for how long something is going to happen or when will something start or end. Both of them can be used interchangeably. They are the prepositions used to describe time.

Until means for how long something is going to occur or when will a particular thing start or end. Until came later in existence. For example, Reena will be busy until 3.00 pm today. I didn’t know that ‘until’ and ’till’ have the same meanings until today. ‘Until’ is used in cases where something will keep on going for a specific time period. For example, Lakshya went home yesterday and will stay with his parents until this weekend.

Till means for how long something is going to occur or when will a particular thing start or end. Till is an older word and was used from several years before the existence of until. For example, Reena will be busy till 3.00 pm today. ‘Till’ is mostly used in informal speech. For example, we should wait till the delivery arrives.

Comparison Table Between Until and Till

Parameters of ComparisonUntilTill
MeaningUntil means up to the time period of the event mentioned.Till means to the point mentioned or up to a specific point.
Usage structureUntil + time periodTill + period of time
Till + subordinate clause
Used asPreposition, ConjunctionPreposition, Noun, verb
Tense usedPast simple, past perfectPresent perfect, Past simple, past perfect
Nature of speechMore formalLess formal

What is Until?

‘Until’ is used in cases where we have to show the time where a situation or an activity ends. For example, I was up decorating my room until 2 in the morning. ‘Until’ is also used to showcase the deadlines (a specific time period when a specific work has to be completed). This usually happens when a senior or elder gives you work to do and also gives a deadline with it. For example, Professor Sharma told us to finish the project and submit it until Saturday.

‘Until’ is used to refer to the period of time where a speaker says something to the point mentioned in his/her speech. For example, Mrs Usha has been injured and won’t be coming to the office until next Friday. ‘until I get back’ – this refers to the time period until the speaker returns to the specified place.

Until usage never goes wrong. One can ensure the correctness of their speech with the usage of until. Whether it be formal letters, speech, invitation, casual conversation, or anything, the usage of ‘until’ justifies the sense of the statement. For example, Until yesterday, Mitu did not realize that she had an interview next week. Meena said- Just wait until I come back home. All of the movie theatres will remain closed until next week. Until cannot be used in cases where we talk about a quantity such as several people. In such cases, ‘up to’ is used.

What is Till?

Till also has the same meaning as of until. ‘Till’ is used more in casual conversation. This may be because of two reasons: First, people are mistaken for till to be the shortcut of until, and second, people prefer the one syllable of till rather than using the two-syllable until. Till has the correct meaning and is perfectly right to use in any conversation. Till can be substituted in sentences with until and retains the original meaning of the sentence. It is adapted by people as it is easy to pronounce and has a single syllable.

Using till in a formal conversation can lead people to mistake you for being casual as many people don’t know the difference between till and until. Till can definitely be used as an alternative for until. For example, Mitu did not realize that she had an interview next week till yesterday.

Till can be used in place of until and retains the original meaning of the sentence. For example, Meena said- Just wait till I come back home. All of the movie theatres will remain closed till next week. I can’t wait till our burger king order gets home, and we can watch a movie while eating.

Main Differences Between Until and Till

  1. ‘Until’ came into existence several hundred years later than ’till.’
  2. ‘Until’ is often used in formal speeches, while ’till’ is considered less formal. This may be due to the reason that many people often are mistaken for till as a short form of until.
  3. ‘Until’ cannot be used in cases of a set up of a negative conditional while ’till’ can be used in negative conditionals.
  4. ‘Until’ is often used for perfectives while ’till’ is used with continual actions. The difference in the tense usage is important while using ‘until’ and ’till.’
  5. ‘Until’ came to existence in the 12th century, while ‘Till’ is used from the 9th century.
  6. While ‘until’ is used in both formal style and conversations, ’till’ is normally used in English conversations.

Conclusion

Two words can sound similar and have the same meaning. ‘Until’ and till are two words having the same meaning and are often used interchangeably. People often are mistaken that ’till ‘is a shorter version for ‘until’, but this is not true. ‘Till’ is not the abbreviation or short form for until.

Both ‘until’ and ’till’ have the same meanings, till being three centuries older than until. They can be used interchangeably, but in many cases, the usage is specified with tense usage and the nature of speech. ‘Until’ is considered more formal than ’till.’ However, both of the words are equally correct and can be used according to the situation requires.

References

  1. http://robfelty.com/design/archives/corpusconference/abstracts/abstract37.pdf 
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yishai-Tobin/publication/237459697_Till_vs_Until_A_Sign-Oriented_Approach/links/5411a0600cf29e4a2329735e/Till-vs-Until-A-Sign-Oriented-Approach.pdf  
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