1

I'm here to 6.

I am currently debating this sentence with a colleague. I say this should read "until 6", not "to 6". He insists he is correct. Which way is right?

  • Until is clearer; to is colloquial in context. Perhaps he is being too colloquial with you, given the nature of your relationship. That's what speech registers like 'colloquial' are really about -- who's allowed to talk to whom in what register. – John Lawler Apr 20 '15 at 17:24
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    Here till 6 is another option, and in some situations before 6, prior to 6, or towards 6. – choster Apr 20 '15 at 17:30
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    Maybe there are some native speakers who really do use to in this context, but it sound to me like something non-native speakers would say after repeatedly mishearing 'til (understandable, since it's never stressed, and very often wouldn't be clearly enunciated). – FumbleFingers Apr 20 '15 at 17:42
2

In a nutshell, "to" is understandable but not idiomatic, and suggests (to my mind at least) that English is not the speaker's native language.

"Till" or "until" are both correct and idiomatic, and may refer to a duration or a condition. Take this sentence: "I won't speak to her to she apologizes," and you'll see the point.

1

It sounds weird, but your colleague is actually giving you the pertinent parts of the statement:

"I'm here, (from 10 or, whatever,) to 6".

I like the sound of until or 'til better, too; your associate is telling you his schedule, rather than his plans.

  • For the record, it's 'till' not 'apostrophe-til'. Just thought you should know... – Glasseyed Apr 20 '15 at 19:38
  • Don't be a word fascist, Glasseyed. Old people like me still use 'til quite often. "Till" may be preferred, but the other is not yet recognized as a glaring beacon of ignorance. – Oldbag Apr 20 '15 at 20:28
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    Sorry, but I don't think it's word fascism, especially on an English language forum, to correct a very common misconception: 'till' is its own word, not an abbreviation of 'until.' :-) – Glasseyed Apr 20 '15 at 20:37
  • And if I'm not mistaken, till is etymologically older than until. – Steven Littman Apr 21 '15 at 2:34
  • @Glasseyed I suppose one question is if the existence of till actually makes 'til as an abbreviation of until invalid. It does seem a bit like a case of till having been mostly lost (regionally?) and then inventing something to explain the established phrases using it, though. – Håkan Lindqvist Apr 21 '15 at 20:05
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Both are fine...they just mean something slightly different. "To 6" is giving a single time instant as an end time marker. "Until 6" is specifying a time range, from now till the time you leave..which is 6.

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