"until" vs "before" or "to"

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Tue Jul 17 02:46:11 UTC 2007

>Did the announcer say "until" or "till"?  "Till" is more common, and the
>standard term in the Midland (and South, I believe).  It goes way back,
>noted in early travel journals as of Scotch-Irish origin.  Dictionaries
>cite it as a separate lexical item, if I'm not mistaken, more related to
>"to" than to "until."  (I don't have my sources here at home, but I've
>cited this in my Encyclopedia of Appalachia entry of 2006, and Michael
>Montgomery has discussed it long before that.)  As a common daily usage, it
>goes deep: I always tell my students that I, a Northerner born and bred,
>will always say "quarter to," but my Indiana/Ohio son will forever say
>"quarter till."  The third option is usually "quarter of"; I've never heard
>"quarter before" (or 15 minutes before).  This seems to me simply
>dialectal, not semantic.  I forget where you live, Sage Hen?
>Beverly Flanigan
>Ohio University
>At 08:02 PM 7/16/2007, you wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
>>Subject:      "until" vs "before" or "to"
>>(a) It is now 25 minutes until 6.
>>(b) It is now 25  minutes before 6.
>>(c) It is now 25 minutes to 6.
>>   ~~~~~~~~~~~
>>What's the difference?
>>  (a) feels wrong to me, unless sthg important is going to happen at 6.
>>  (b) & (c) as simple announcements of the time seem right.
>>Is this just me, or do others have the same sense?  I would probably never
>>have thought of this  if one of our local radio announcers didn't use the
>>"until" form regularly,  catching my attention.  Most of them say "before."
This particular announcer definitely says "until."  The station is in
Canton NY, but  its personnel come from all over the country.
I myself would be more likely to say "25 of 6" or "quarter of"  than "
till" or "to" or "before."  I grew up in Lincoln NE.

W stands for >:<  War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts  >:<

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