Is there a formal version of the term "until," used in the context of "The event will run from 8 a.m. until," signifying an indeterminate end time?

  • 3
    Interesting. I've not come across this usage of "until" before. Where is it from?
    – user1579
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 17:58
  • It's used conversationally in my area (North Carolina), and I am preparing a document to be posted on my organization's website which uses the conversational construct in a schedule of events.
    – asthasr
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:01
  • @Jimi: ping.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 19:39
  • Sorry about that, Jimi; I wasn't familiar with the quotation mark rules in that instance.
    – asthasr
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 0:39

5 Answers 5


You can reword the phrase a few ways to imply no end (or an indeterminate end):

The event will begin at 8 a.m.

The event starts at 8 a.m.

You can also insert a phrase after until:

The event will run from 8 a.m. until sundown

The event will run from 8 a.m. until supplies run out

Across different days:

The event will begin each day at 8 a.m.

  • Unfortunately, the event is spread across multiple days, beginning at 8 a.m. each day, and the end time is variable based on a variety of conditions.
    – asthasr
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:03
  • @syrion: I added another example. You can still use a phrase like, "and will end when..." to describe a complicated ending condition. It may be best to move that into its own sentence, however.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:13
  • Another possibility is something like "The event will run from 8 a.m. on", but that's not really any more formal than ending a clause with "until".
    – Marthaª
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:19

You could also use

The event will run every day, from 8 a.m. onwards

  • In this case it's "onward" without the "s".
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:23
  • @Alenanno: as far as I know (and the OED seems to agree with me) anything ending in -ward has a -wards counterpart and the two can be generally used interchangeably.
    – nico
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:31
  • Ops, I based myself just on one dictionary, so I thought that in that case the "s" was not needed, but you're right. By the way +1 was from me, because I thought your answer was the most correct here and it seems I was right... On this at least.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:34

Yes - the standard form in formal invitations is, "8 a.m. till."

Note that "'til" is a possibility, but less formal than the much-older "till."

  • This is no more or less formal than "until", and suffers from exactly the same "huh" factor (i.e. to someone who hasn't encountered this colloquial usage, a statement ending with "until/till" looks unfinished).
    – Marthaª
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:08
  • We evidently travel in different circles (put cute smiley here).
    – The Raven
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:10

EDIT #2: I gave a bad answer, I apologize. I just checked again my dictionary and if you don't have a specified end time then you can use this way:

forward in time: the period from 1969 onward.

Previous answer: My Dictionary says that till is less formal than until:

USAGE In most contexts, till and until have the same meaning and are interchangeable.
The main difference is that till is generally considered to be more informal than until.

Until occurs much more frequently than till in writing. Interestingly, while it is commonly assumed that till is an abbreviated form of until (the spellings 'till and 'til reflect this), till is in fact the earlier form.

Another source confirmed that till is less formal than until.

EDIT: Sorry for the edit, but I found another entry. From the OALD (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary):

Till is generally felt to be more informal than until and is used much less often in writing. At the beginning of a sentence, until is usually used.

  • 1
    none of this addresses the question that was actually asked, i.e. how to formally give the time for an event that has a set start time, but an indeterminate end time.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:13
  • You're right, it was due to oversight. Should I correct my answer?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:18
  • 1
    Nota bene I did not address "until" at all. I only discussed 'til and till.
    – The Raven
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:27
  • Seems like today I'm a mess. I'll edit it.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:30
  • No worries. The key point here is that the expression "___ am/pm till" is a set phrase used in invitations. There is no form that contains "until" in this form that I'm aware. In running text, of course "until" would be preferred. In this case, however, "till" is performing the function of "to whatever hour the event runs," and is less prepositional in that respect.
    – The Raven
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 18:58

Just "from 8 am"?

Apparently you need more than this for an answer.

  • There is a character minimum on answers. Simply quoting the full sentence would have worked in this case.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 17:54
  • Just FYI, the construction "From <time>" with no end point, as in "The event will be open from Friday" is specifically non-American (that is to say, British, but I don't know about Australian, South African, etc.). It's confusing and definitely not grammatical in American English. You'd have to say "starting Friday" or something like that.
    – nohat
    Commented Apr 9, 2011 at 0:46
  • 2nohat - thanks, never come across that
    – mgb
    Commented Apr 9, 2011 at 1:02
  • @mgb: If you preface the person's name with @, instead of 2, that person will be notified of your comment.
    – TRiG
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 0:37
  • 1
    @Trig - it's not easy being an exile over here. They can't spell, they have never heard of Branston Pickle, the chocolate and beer is crap and the keys are all in the wrong place. Still we have to do our best to bring some sort of civilisation to the colonies.
    – mgb
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 15:30

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