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I understand that you can say, "within 30 days of receiving your application", but I am seeing more and more "within 30 days after your application is received". Is the latter grammatical?

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  • Well, I'd be happier if it were your application; and if I were inclined to niggle I'd ask for the 30 days; but it's hopeless trying to explain these matters to law-trained bureaucrats and their compliance overseers. They inhabit a very different speech community. Mar 25 '13 at 5:17
  • English has one simple rule - as long as it is logical, it is usable. Mar 25 '13 at 8:48
  • One might ask how long after receiving the application the 30 days starts (or 90 days, depending on whether the question's title or text is in play).
    – Lawrence
    Jan 23 '18 at 9:28
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I see no grammar issues with either of “within 30 days of receiving your application” or “within 30 days after your application is received”. I prefer the phrase “within 30 days of receipt of application” or “within 30 days of receipt of completed application”. The number 30 can be replaced by 90 without affecting grammaticality.

‘within’ and ‘after’ are both performing a similar function and therefore ... should not both be used in the one construction

While at first glance it may seem that using both of within and after is redundant, in point of fact using both words removes an element of ambiguity present in both of the other constructions. Although “within 30 days” is often interpreted as meaning “within 30 days after”, it can also be interpreted as “within 30 days before or after”. Typically, one interpretation or the other is obvious, and after need not be explicitly mentioned. The slight redundancy it introduces is unimportant. In short, add the word after or leave it out as you prefer.

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  • I am thinking that 'within' and 'after' are both performing a similar function and therefore that they should not both be used in the one construction.
    – Lil144
    Mar 25 '13 at 6:15
  • @MelindaGrose, I added a note Mar 25 '13 at 6:29
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"Within 90 days after" is preferable to "within 90 days of" because it more clearly states that the clock starts ticking the day "after" the triggering event date. Whenever I see "within 90 days of" I am unsure when the 90 days run out.

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  • I don't see how "after" is any clearer than "of" in this situation. In practical terms, "within 90 days of receiving your application" seems purely prospective—it doesn't encompass "one week before receiving your application," for example, because that wouldn't make sense in a situation where receipt of the application is the triggering event for any action by the recipient. So here, at least, "within 90 days of receiving X" means essentially the same thing as "within 90 days after receiving X"—unless the latter is taken to permit starting the 90-day count one day after receipt of X.
    – Sven Yargs
    Apr 30 '15 at 20:51
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The phrase "within 30 days after your application is received" is incorrect.

I can provide two possible explanations:

  1. Redundancy:

    Including the adposition within and the adposition after is redundant, as both words serve the same purpose.

  2. Logic:

    Something that is within a time period cannot fall after the same time period.

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  • An utterance doesn't become ungrammatical just because it's redundant or illogical, though. It's perfectly correct, even normal, for me to load a statement with redundancy: "Hi! I'm so very happy to see you today! I'm glad you came!" The absurd or illogical can also easily be grammatical: "Your cat sat on the mat and didn't fall into the sky?"
    – aedia λ
    Mar 27 '13 at 21:36
  • @aediaλ I never claimed that there was a grammatical error. I claimed that there is a usage error. On the topic of redundancy, Elements of Style states "a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts." I use this as a basis for my first claim. When I speak of logic, I speak of logic from the standpoint of mathematical or temporal logic. A statement may be grammatically sound, however that does not make the statement correct. Mar 27 '13 at 22:30
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I have to argue with your logic MisterCrazy8. It is "within" the 30 days, but the 30 days begins "after" receipt of the application. Therefore, the two words do not perform the same function. If I tell someone they must send me payment within 30 days after the date of a letter, I am telling them the payment must be sent within the 30 days that begins immediately after the date of the letter. I agree "of" sounds better, but for legal reasons, it is less ambiguous to say "after" so there can be no confusion as to when the time period begins. Courts will almost always side with the party to whom the contract is least favorable when it determines contract language to be ambiguous.

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I think the two expressions, "within 30 days of receiving your application" and "within 30 days after your application is received", are absolute synonyms, and there are no meaning overlaps, redundancies, grammatical or stylistic issues here.

"After your application is received" is a synonym of "of receiving your application". They both say the same, one in the form of a clause (it contains a full verb - "is received") and the other in the form of a prepositional phrase (no full verb).

The "redundancy" people are referring to is not between the "within 30 days" bit and the "after your application" clause (or the "of receiving your application" phrase). "Within 30 days" clarifies the amount of days, the other part clarifies the starting point point of that period. None alone conveys all the meaning, and you cannot use it alone, if you want your sentence to be complete.

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