I am an ESL student and I wonder what the following sentence means.

During 1985 to 1988 , I worked at X company

Does it mean that 1988 was included?

I am not quite sure about the meaning since when this sentence was translated into my language, it meant that the person stopped their work in the beginning of 1988. However, I thought it meant that 1988 is included.

  • 2
    Please say where you read this sentence. Is it from an English course book, was it a phrases dictated by the teacher, did you read it on a newspaper etc.? To my ears saying "During X to X" is quite odd.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 6:22
  • I found it on a CV, and I was asked to translate these into my language. I am glade for your interest. Thank you.
    – Gap Sntin
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 7:03
  • Was the CV written by a native speaker?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 7:07
  • 1
    I would normally say: "Between 1985 to 1988 I worked at X company" Basically that person was employed for three years. Otherwise, I would use the structure, "from 1985 to 1988". My best guess is that the candidate is saying he worked until 1988. We don't know when his contract terminated.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 7:18
  • 3
    "Between 1985 and 1988 . . . Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 11:02

3 Answers 3


The phrasing indicates that employment at X began sometime between 1985-01-01 and 1985-12-31, and ended sometime between 1988-01-01 and 1988-12-31.

Best usage would be to use common date notations on a CV, with the dates abutting each other.

For example:

  • From 1985 to 1988 he worked at X.
  • From 1988 to 1993 he worked at Y.

This describes the broadest outlines of employment, although it does allow for anywhere between a period of unemployment nearly a year long, or almost an entire year's overlap between employers.

  • 3
    I think it should be stated more explicitly, or really at all, that "during 1985 to 1988" is not English. Also, no space goes before a comma in English (or really any other language). So OP is trying to analyze a sentence written by someone who has no command of the language at all. No wonder he finds it confusing.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 10:02
  • I'd also contend that if you say 'to 1988', employment could end '31 December 1987' if 1988 is treated as an excluded upper bound. Especially so with something like a CV (while it's a formal document, it's not written according to a style-guide or ran by an editor). Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:30
  • The sentence was ran through a translator at least once, folks. OP was asking about the idiom, not the known-to-be-bad grammar.
    – DougM
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 17:54

Yes, 1988 is included in the span of work at X company.


I got the impression that it means someone started work for a company, sometime in 1985 and stopped sometime in 1988. I wrote the word sometimes because, no particular date in 1985 or 1988 was included.

The way it is written is a little awkward. To sound more natural, I would word it as From 1985 to 1988, I worked for X company, and write the name of the particular company where you have written "X company".

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