I want to say:

"your current quota is one xxx per year"

But this is not exactly what I want to express since the year I am referring to is not fixed. That is, user will only be given another allotment after one year has elapsed from the time of last usage, instead of at the start of a new year.

How to phrase this elegantly?

  • I think what you said works just fine. If you wanted to say that the quota begins on January 1, you'd say "one per calendar year". – J.R. Aug 1 '13 at 10:29
  • @J.R., I would naturally assume per year to mean each calendar year. Not sure what most people would think. – Question Overflow Aug 1 '13 at 10:35
  • When talking about a quota, I would assume that "one per year" means that, if you get your first one on August 1st, you can't get your next one until August 1st of next year, but "one per calendar year" means I could get my next one on January 1st. I'm not sure what "most people" would think, either, but that's what I'd assume. :^) – J.R. Aug 1 '13 at 10:41

You could express this by saying

which is not quite as elegant as "per year" but breaks the link between a calendar year and a period starting on an arbitrary date.

  • +1 for the former or "1 in any consecutive 12 month period" – Jack Ryan Aug 1 '13 at 14:28
  • It seems to me that neither suggestion expresses the “after one year has elapsed from the time of last usage” provision of question; ie, that both allow the claim that the allotment just made goes with the 12 months just past, so now another allotment is allowed, counting against the upcoming 12 months. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 1 '13 at 16:15
  • @jwpat7 No, if there is one "xxx" in the period ending now, you can't have another one now. If you haven't had an "xxx" in the previous period ending now, you can have another one now. It doesn't matter when in the previous twelve months the last "xxx" happened. But I can't draw a timeline diagram in comments :-( – Andrew Leach Aug 1 '13 at 16:23
  • Andrew, the phrases “One per rolling twelve-month period” and “One in any twelve months” do not strictly enforce the proper conditions. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 1 '13 at 16:31
  • @jwpat7 I think we have different ideas of what the restrictions are, then. This probably means the question is not well phrased. – Andrew Leach Aug 1 '13 at 16:45

How are you counting one year? If 365 consecutive days, then say so: "Your quota is XXX per consecutive 365 day period". If 52 weeks or 12 months, say that instead. Part of your difficulty seems to stem from a lack of precision in wording, so address that directly.

  • Not necessarily 365 days. For example today, the time period will be from 1st August 2012, 1038+0000 to now. – Question Overflow Aug 1 '13 at 10:38

I think you've got to say:

12 months from the time of last usage

to be absolutely clear.


Will any of these work for you:

  1. One per billing year or billing period (if it is a billable situation)

  2. One per yearly usage

  • The first option has a fixed time of reference. The second option is ambiguous. – Question Overflow Aug 2 '13 at 3:30

As the requirement is to describe the period since the current calendar month and day one year ago, and as there is no standard, unambiguous expression in English for this type of date range, why not just be specific.

For example, if today is August 1, 2013, why not say:

Your quota is xxx since August 1, 2012.

  • This sounds weird because the objective is to let the user know how his quota is derived and what to expect in the future. – Question Overflow Aug 2 '13 at 3:26
  • @QuestionOverflow - Your question is not well constructed insofar as you aren't at all clear on what you want to say. If you prefer, you can read my answer as "Say what you mean precisely, since there is no English expression for that type of time span." – Joel Brown Aug 2 '13 at 12:33

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