Why Does ‘Until’ Only Have One ‘L’?

Understanding the spelling of the word ‘until’ can be a little confusing due to its similarities with other words. Some of the common mistakes arise from confusion between ‘until’ and ’till’, leading some to incorrectly spell it ‘untill’.

Why Is It Spelled With One ‘L’?

The word ‘until’ is actually derived from the word ’till’, which has been used in English since the 9th century as a shorter form of ‘until’. While ’till’ holds two ‘l’s, ‘until’ is spelled with only one ‘l’. This is the accepted standard in English due to the evolution of the word over time and the way it has been standardized in modern English spelling conventions.

Furthermore, the word ‘until’ was formed from the Old Norse words ‘und’ and ’til’, both meaning towards, to, or as far as.


Common Mistakes

  • A common mistake when spelling ‘until’ is adding an extra ‘l’, mistakenly spelling it ‘untill’. It’s important to remember that ‘until’ only has one ‘l’.
  • Mistaking ‘until’ with ’till’. Both have the same meaning, but ’till’ is used in everyday speech rather than formal writing.
  • Another common mistake is ’til’ instead of ‘until’. This isn’t technically incorrect, as ’til’ is an informal and poetic shortening of until, but used less commonly.


To understand the correct usage of ‘until’, consider these examples:

  • The store will remain open until 9 PM tonight.
  • We’ll wait here until you’re ready to go.
  • She waited at the bus stop until the rain finally stopped.


In summary, the word ‘until’ is spelled with only one “l“, unlike similar words like “till“. This is due to its historical origins and the evolution of the English language. Remembering this rule can help you avoid common spelling mistakes and improve your writing skills. Always use ‘until’ when indicating a temporal relationship or indicating the end point of a specific time period in formal writing.

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