English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When the last day of registration is, let's say, 15 July, we currently say "please confirm your registration before 16 July" but students often send their confirmation on 16 July, rather than 15. I guess it's the date itself that's misleading.

share|improve this question
You should say "on or before 15 July". Completely unambiguous, at the cost of two extra two-letter words. – Peter Shor Aug 30 '12 at 2:34
Which is the more common form? What I've seen in many applications is like "register by September 15, 2012". – its_me Aug 30 '12 at 2:36
@its_me: "register by Sept. 15" implies that registrations can still be made on the 15th. On or before is quite common and, in the business world especially, both "on or before" and "by close-of-business (often abbreviated as COB) on" are frequently used. – Jim Aug 30 '12 at 3:18
Simpler to say "... no later than 15 July." – Robusto Aug 30 '12 at 3:35
This question can be improved by providing citations for references you consulted before posting the question. Consulting references and reporting the result is basic site etiquette. – MετάEd Sep 26 '12 at 3:30

As in the comments, a common form that is succinct yet unambiguous is:

Please confirm your registration no later than 15 July.

Another unambiguous option is:

Please confirm your registration on or before 15 July.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.