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We are now at year 2013. What does it mean by saying in the past 2 years?Whats the period it refering to?

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marked as duplicate by MετάEd, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, Carlo_R., Brian Hooper Jun 18 '13 at 0:36

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Is this different from english.stackexchange.com/questions/50615/…? –  Andrew Leach Jun 17 '13 at 17:30
    
It can be either calendric or non-calendric. See Fillmore's lecture on "Time" from his Deixis Lectures. –  John Lawler Jun 17 '13 at 17:31
    
@Christine: Welcome to english.stackexchange.com. I think your question has already been asked and answered in the question cited by Andrew Leach. Please check out that question. If your question isn't answered there, try editing your question to make it clear in what whay it differs. –  Bruce James Jun 17 '13 at 18:21

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It would depend on the context. It could mean different things. It could literally mean the past 730 days. If it were used near the beginning of 2013, it would more likely mean 2011 and 2012, but if it were used at the end (say, December), it would be referring to 2012 and 2013. Context is everything!

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+1 for "context is everything". By the way, here are a few other possible contexts: In the past two academic years (as when a professor is asked, "How many courses have you taught in the past two years?"); in past two football seasons (as when a sportscaster says, "They've only been shut out once in the past two years"); in the past two hurricane seasons (when the meteorologist says, "There hasn't been a CAT III hurricane in the past two years") – you get the idea. –  J.R. Jun 17 '13 at 21:48

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