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You must submit your homework as late as tomorrow.

Does the sentence have the same meaning as the following one?

The deadline for your homework submission is tomorrow.

To be specific, I want to convey the urgency of the matter, not allowance for delay.

From the answers, I've learned that "You must do something by some_time." or "You must do something no later then some_time." is what I want. But what if some_time is indicated by the occurrence of some thing? Are these two expressions correct?

You must start the second round no later than the first round ends.

and

You must start the second round by the time the first round ends.

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I read "You must submit your homework as late as tomorrow" as meaning "You must submit your homework tomorrow: No later, and no earlier. Oh, and if you submit it tomorrow it will count as having been submitted late and your grades will be penalised appropriately. Chew on that, hapless student!" –  user867 Apr 22 '13 at 4:34
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5 Answers

Yes, 'as late as' can be used to indicate the time by which the homework must be submitted but I don't think it can be used as a command.

Your sentence makes better sense when either of the following two is used.

You can submit your homework as late as tomorrow.

or

You must submit your homework by tomorrow.

In the first instance, the student is being told that "Don't worry, you have till tomorrow to submit the homework. That is more than enough time for this homework". While in the second, the student is given a deadline.

Update after the modification of the question:

In the context of having a deadline,

You must start the second round by the time the first round ends.

or

You must start the second round as soon as the first round ends.

seems to be better as it means that second round should start when the first round ends.

On the other hand, You must start the second round no later than when the first round ends means that the second round must begin before the first round ends (and obviously a huge difference in meaning.)

Essentially, 'no later' means the last time something can happen. Tomorrow is the last time you can submit the homework (you can submit it any time before that) or End of the first last round is the last time you can start the second round (you can start it any time before that).

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While "as late as" doesn't work with "must", "at the latest" can be made to work: "You must submit your homework by tomorrow at the latest" does sound ok to me. –  aedia λ Jun 27 '11 at 20:41
    
Thanks. But what if the deadline is indicated by the occurrence of some thing? I've updated the question. –  an0 Jun 27 '11 at 23:46
    
I think "by some_time" also means "before or at some_time", doesn't it? Then why is it different from "no later than some_time"? –  an0 Jun 28 '11 at 17:19
    
In "You must start the second round no later than when the first round ends." Can I omit "when"? –  an0 Jun 28 '11 at 17:21
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I would prefer

You must submit your work no later than tomorrow.

to express the deadline unequivocally

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"As late as" has a more lenient connotation to it. It sounds like you may do it now, or you can do it later, whichever, doesn't matter, as long as it gets done, it's fine.

However, the main upshot is about the same. If you say "You may submit your homework as late as tomorrow" ("must" is too strong here, when coupled with "as late as"), you are letting the person know that you want it done by then. She knows you will not like it if it takes her two days.

Now, if you want to say it more strongly, so that it will make her keep it a higher priority, you may want to say something more like "The deadline for your homework submission is tomorrow." This is stronger, and contains a particle of "You'd better get it done by then!"

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To my ear, "as late as" implies that after that point, some benefit would be withdrawn; "no later than" implies that after that point, some penalty would be applied.

Of course, arithmetically, the withdrawal of a benefit is equivalent to the application of a penalty, but emotionally, they are quite different. A store that offered a 50% senior-citizen discount would be considered public-spirited; one that charged young people double would be denounced as exploiting children.

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Personally I think "You can submit your homework as late as tomorrow." Is very poor English and should not be used any way, likewise with "You must start the second round by the time the first round ends." "You must submit your work ••no later than•• tomorrow." is much better, as mentioned above.

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