We write (until), and ('till).
Why does dropping the u and n add an l?
Why don't we write (untill)?
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We write (until), and ('till). Why does dropping the u and n add an l? Why don't we write (untill)?

Better question: why do we ever write "until" at all?

English, especially American English, has the habit of piling up prepositions. Once upon a time, one checked something to verify it. But that wasn't enough syllables, so one came to check on it. But that wasn't enough syllables, so now one checks up on it. What's next in that series only God and the Devil know.
"Until" is presumably a shotgun wedding of "up till", but spelling follows no logic in English.
(Answer to the opening question: for the same reason we ever write "upon" instead of "on".)

Cordially,
Eric Walker, Owlcroft House
http://owlcroft.com/english /
We write (until), and ('till). Why does dropping the u and n add an l? Why don't we write (untill)?[/nq]There is isn't a lot of logic in English spelling, but there is some regularity nonetheless. Most monosyllabic words with short vowels have -ll rather than -l: ill, kill, fill, bill, will, spill, skill, bell, fell, well, hell, shell, doll, gull, shall, mall (in British English, insofar as it's used at all; the American word has a weird pronunciation with a long vowel that otherwise doesn't exist in English), but there are exceptions: nil (maybe because its Latin origin isn't completely forgotten), col (still thought of as Welsh), pal, gal (not standard words), Hal (proper name).

The same sounds at the end of words of more than one syllable haven't settled down to unique spellings: I write instil, distil, propel, dispel, etc., but they are also written with -ll. An analogy of till/until is found with spell/gospel: nowadays we don't see the "spel" at the end of the latter as the same word as "spell", but originally it was. Notice also that skill and will lose their second l when they become skilful and wilful.

So, to summarize, there's not much logic but there's not a total absence of regularity either.

athel
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We write (until), and ('till). Why does dropping the u and n add an l? Why don't we write (untill)?

Better question: why do we ever write "until" at all?

Why is this better? Someone asks about spelling and you decide that it's better to answer a quite different question about word formation.
English, especially American English,

Relevance to a word that dates to the 13th century?
has the habit of piling up prepositions. Once upon a time, one checked something to verify it. But that wasn't ... now one checks up on it. What's next in that series only God and the Devil know. "Until" is presumably

Why presume? Don't you have a dictionary?
a shotgun wedding of "up till", but spelling follows no logic in English.

Not true. It's not obsessively logical, certainly, but there is no reason to go to the other extreme. See http://www.zompist.com/spell.html
(Answer to the opening question: for the same reason we ever write "upon" instead of "on".)

This is not an answer to your opening question,let alone to cobble's opening question.

athel
We write (until), and ('till). Why does dropping the u and n add an l? Why don't we write (untill)?

There is isn't a lot of logic in English spelling, but there is some regularity nonetheless. Most monosyllabic words with ... but originally it was. Notice also that skill and will lose their second l when they become skilful and wilful.

This must be why I use a Skil saw.
So, to summarize, there's not much logic but there's not a total absence of regularity either.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
as the same word as "spell", but ... lose their second l when they become skilful and wilful.

This must be why I use a Skil saw.

Proper name, innit?
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We write (until), and ('till). Why does dropping the u and n add an l?

The spelling you have adopted for the second word, , and your question about "dropping" letters while we would "add" one to make me wonder if you don't consider that derives from .

Actually, "until" is the newer as words go, as it dates back to the very beginning of the 13th century word, and derives from "till". The prefix "un-", or its ancestor, meant something like "up to", "as far as", in the older Germanic and Scandinavian languages.

The spelling was adopted by people who thought that it was an abbreviation, which is a mistake, etymologically speaking. The majority spelling is now .
Why don't we write (untill)?

We might. It is an older spelling.
Other historical spellings for your enjoyment: unntill, untyll, unetyll, untille, untylle, ontil, ontyll, onetil, ontill, and some others probably.

Regularity in spelling has been at work here, even if in a limited form. See Athel's answer for further explanations.

Isabelle Cecchini
We write (until), and ('till).

Uh, who writes "'till"? I was taught to write either "'til" or "till" back in grade school.
¬R http://users.bestweb.net/~notr/magictop.html Who sneezed in my arpeggio? My beautiful arpeggio!
We write (until), and ('till).

Uh, who writes "'till"? I was taught to write either "'til" or "till" back in grade school.

You've got sharp eyes you and Isabelle. I didn't notice the apostrophe tucked away there next to the opening quote. Indeed, as there was no apostrophe in the subject line I didn't even think of looking for it.

athel
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