Muphry’s Law

retinart – The Grammar Cheat Sheet

Ah, the Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation, or Muphry’s Law, strikes again. One of the comments in the Grammar Cheat Sheet complains about the use of the word till, the cash box found in shops. The comment is:

2008-07-29 02:27:35
Typo in the “en dash” section; a till is something used in a shop, ’til is short for until.
So “The mini-Olympics will run from the 29th till the 30th.” should be “The mini-Olympics will run from the 29th ’til the 30th.”

Well, Matt` is partly right and partly wrong. The OED gives:

till (prep.):
II. Of time.
5. a. Onward to (a specified time); up to the time of (an event); during the whole time before; until. (Denoting continuance up to a particular time, and usually implying cessation or change at that time: cf. B. 1.)

Var. of TILL prep., conj. or short for UNTIL prep. and conj.

until, (prep.):
II. With reference to time.
5. Onward till (a time specified or indicated); up to the time of (an action, occurrence, etc.); = TILL prep. 5.

So, either one is fine. Interestingly, one of the quotations given by the OED for ’til is this:

’til (quotations):

Till, until, (’til), these three words are not distinguishable in meaning. Since ’til in speech sounds the same as till and looks slightly odd on paper, it may well be abandoned.

The author of the post does reply to Matt`, which is nice. He says:

Alex Charchar
2008-07-29 11:33:27 + Alex Charchar’s website
You got me thinking, sir! I at first thought that you were wrong, to be completely honest, but I went back and read my dictionary again and realised I misinterpreted the usage of till in this instance. It says that it’s ok to use ’till’ in an instance where it’s being used in place of ‘up to’ and indicates the end, specifically of a time period.

This reply confuses me, but heyho.

Well, it’s time to end now. I imagine Muphry’s Law will now be applied to me by someone, even if they don’t leave a comment!

Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: ,

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3 thoughts on “Muphry’s Law

  1. I presume the misspelling of Murphy is intentional? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ignore the last comment. I fell asleep before fully reading the link ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Heh ๐Ÿ™‚

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