Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it natural to say the following:

There is going to be no office hours between 12:00 to 13:00.

I got this in an email and the use of to seems a bit awkward to me. I think of two better alternatives: either change between to from or to to and. What do you think?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Whether it's common or natural (and I'm not sure it's either) it doesn't make sense. An event can occur between two others, so there can be an absence of office hours between 12:00 and 13:00. Alternatively, an event can last for a given length of time, so the absence of office hours is from 12:00 to 13:00.

That apart, the information might be more effectively expressed as The office will be closed from 12:00 to 13:00 or The office will be closed between 12:00 and 13:00.

share|improve this answer

While I agree it is awkward, I cannot find a source that explains why. Merriam Webster contains one definition of the word "to" as being a preposition that is "used as a function word to indicate position or relation in time." This being said, I agree that it is awkward and would suggest using the word "and" instead.

On a side note, there are a few other elements of the sentence that add to its awkwardness. The most important one would be subject/verb agreement. The subject of this sentence, "office hours," is a plural noun. (Cambridge Dictionaries Online agrees with me). Therefore, the sentence should read "There are going" rather than "There is going."

share|improve this answer
2  
If the sentence read There will be no office hour between 12:00 and 13:00, the issue of singularity/plurality would not arise. Because there's only one hour in that 60-minute interval, it has to be singular to make sense. If it read The office {is / will be} closed from 12:00 to 13:00 or Office hours {will be / are} suspended between 12:00 and 13:00, there would be no issue at all. Simple, clear, brief, and literate save the day. –  user21497 Sep 4 '12 at 12:35

It seems to be quite common, and you're entirely right.

From X to Y
Between X and Y

I guess it's similar to a previous question where Peter Shor commented that such confusion might be a thinko/typo or be caused by incompletely revising some text. But at least between–to is understandable in a way that from–and would not be.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

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.