I haven’t posted in a long time, as I’ve been finishing up some work. More on that later in the next few weeks as I have a big announcement regarding the Inkhorn Society! But till then… let’s talk about the word till.
I always squirm a bit when people use the word till in their work. In my mind, you either spell out the entire word, until, or you contract it properly, ’til. That makes sense, especially since a till is a cash register in my mind.
Turns out, I’m wrong. The word till actually predates the word until by a long time. (First recorded in the ninth century according to Miriam-Webster!) Till, with a double L, isn’t a contraction of the word until but its own distinct word. That said, contracting the word until so that it looks like ’til is still acceptable, although it’s still in debate, and some editors will think it’s incorrect, so I would avoid it, or at least I will from now on. The one thing that isn’t acceptable is hyphenation with a double L at the end. ‘Till.
I still plan on avoiding till though. I would consider using it in dialogue, but then again I use many incorrect words in order to create or maintain character voice, such as ain’t, or dropping the G to add tone. I think till is becoming increasingly archaic, and using it tends to bring a reader out of the work.