If I loaned someone some item, and I told them that their possession of the item "ends on 2014/12/31", would 2014/12/31 be part of the time that they still have possession of the item?

Or, say if I were to hold a contest, and I said that contest "ends on 2014/12/31", would 2014/12/31 still be a date where the contest is still being held?

What's the more common expectation of the phrase?

  • 1
    In most of and general cases yes. But when it comes to financial and legal stuff, it varies. – Codeek Dec 20 '14 at 6:23
  • The best way to prevent any misunderstandings is to specify the precise day, hour and minute when the auction ends, the item has to be returned, no more entries will be accepted, or the bankers will be executed. Otherwise, people have a tendency to interpret lack of clarity to their own advantage: this is apt to lead to arguments, library fines and blood feuds. – Erik Kowal Dec 20 '14 at 6:25
  • "I went to the park on Friday" means 'sometime on Friday' and so is imprecise. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 20 '14 at 6:28
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    @EdwinAshworth - Apparently you're one of the lucky ones that gets Fridays. And parks. – Erik Kowal Dec 20 '14 at 6:30
  • @Erik Kowal "one of the lucky ones 'who' or 'that' gets fridays". which one is more appropriate or say correct? – Codeek Dec 20 '14 at 6:53

Yes, normally that last day is part of the loan agreement or contest.

This is how my library does it: an item due back on Monday can be returned or renewed any time on Monday with no fine. If returned or renewed on Tuesday, a fine is given.

For avoidance of doubt, give an explicit time for the loan to end, or use clear language explicitly stating how the last day is handled. If you check, you may find this in the small print for loans and contests.

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