My grandma hadn't finished her schooling, so I wanted to know when she stopped going to school or more specifically "the grade after which she stopped going to school". Actually she completed her tenth grade.

Till what grade did you go to school?

I went to school till 10th grade. (I finished my tenth grade)

Do you think that these sentences sound natural? I made them up, but I don't know why but they sound a bit off to me. Can you please suggest something better instead?

My question is mostly about the use of "till" (not "10th") and therefore isn't like these related questions:


2 Answers 2


I was about to say that it should be, 'til or 'till, with the apostrophe, but a check of Merriam Webster online suggests otherwise:

People often ask which is the correct synonym of until: till, ’til, or ’till?

Many assume that till is an abbreviated form of until. Actually, it is a distinctive word that existed in English at least a century before until, both as a preposition meaning “to” and a conjunction meaning “until.” It has seen continuous use in English since the 12th century and is a perfectly legitimate synonym of until.

’Til and ’till are much newer words, having appeared in the language only in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. Both are variant spellings, either of until or of till. Writers of usage guides have roundly condemned ’till as a barbarism (apparently because it seems to have added a superfluous l to the end of until). ’Til, for its part, has been deemed inappropriate in formal writing.

To sum up: until and till can be used freely and interchangeably, but you will probably want to avoid ’till and use ’til advisedly. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/until

As for the sentences you have there, by the standard of a native English speaker, they are perfectly acceptable to me.

One way you could clarify the second sentence would be to say,

I went to school through 10th Grade.

Using "until" or "till" leans more towards suggesting you stopped at the end of ninth grade as opposed to stopping at the end of tenth grade, though it's a bit ambiguous. It could mean you made it partway through, and a casual speaker might mean it to be that they completed tenth grade, though it would be less correct. Using, "Through" makes it more clear that you completed the grade.

For the first sentence, you could rephase it and ask,

"What grade did you make it through in school?"

and you would have the same clarity.


Contrary to the other answer, I'd talk about a grade like a destination -- something that you arrive at, go through, etc.

I went to school up to 10th grade.

This could mean two things: either

I went through school normally, then dropped out mid-10th grade.


I went through school normally, then dropped out, with 10th grade being my last completed year.

The latter you could say more precisely by saying

I went to school through 10th grade.

I live in California and am currently in high school, and this is how we refer to stuff like this over here. Other places probably use different phrases, but you will be universally understood.

You could also use till or until like you were saying, but for some reason till at the start of the sentence sounds weird. Try this:

What grade did you stay in school till?

You're grammatically correct, though, and the meaning is just the same.

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