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I'm writing an integration manual that specifies how to use our WCF service for mobile messages and responses. The part in question needs to specify that the search results will be filtered between the start and end dates.

My aim is to make it clear that the time portion of the two dates will be discarded and the result will include everything from the start date to the end date. (In practice the code truncates the dates, adds one day to the end date, and returns the data that conforms to a query something like: SELECT * FROM Table WHERE DateCreated >= @StartDate AND DateCreated < @EndDate)

But my paragraph looks verbose and clumsy. It doesn't feel right. I feel kind of like John Cleese telling the kids when to put their clothes onto a lower peg. How can I make this less verbose?

Or maybe I'm over-thinking this?

When searching for responses, the search is performed between the supplied dates, after truncating the time portion thereof. The results will include responses with a date-time greater than equal to the start date, and less than one day after the end date. So passing the same value for start and end date will retrieve all responses received on that date, for messages previously sent by that user.

  • As an aside, I don't understand this logic- selecting less than one day after the end date, having added 1 to the end date, is the equivalent of just selecting <= the original end date isn't it? E.g if range given is 1 - 3, and you select on >=1 and < 3+1, you will get the same results selecting >=1 and <=3. – Marv Mills Oct 9 '15 at 10:55
  • Correct. So in c# I would pass startDate.Date and endDate.Date.AddDays(1) to my query. But since the type is a DateTime type, it includes time info which I discard. I want to make that clear to the client who uses our software. – Jerome Viveiros Oct 9 '15 at 12:27
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Here is my suggestion:

Search for responses is performed between given dates, excluding (by truncation) the time portion. The results will include responses with a date-time greater than equal to the start date, and less than one day after the end date. So, passing the same value for start and end dates retrieves all responses received on that date, for messages previously sent by that user.

  • I'm accepting this one. Andrew Leach's answer would have been preferred, except that by mucking about with the end date programmatically, it isn't really true. So this one isn't much simpler than mine, but is more readable, I think. – Jerome Viveiros Oct 9 '15 at 10:19
  • The correct answer and what you see always in technical writing is "The search results will be filtered between the start date (inclusive) and end date (exclusive)." Use "inclusive" and "exclusive" appropriately in each case. – Fattie Oct 9 '15 at 11:02
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You can use inclusive and, by way of analogy and contrast, exclusive for this.

The search results will be filtered between the start date (inclusive) and end date (exclusive).

inclusive

[postpositive] Including the limits specified:
between the ages of 55 and 59 inclusive

[ODO]

If both dates the user enters are included in the output (that is, in order to construct the query you use the day after the user's end date), both are inclusive. You can use the word both to be absolutely explicit, but normally just "inclusive" would be enough.

The search results will be filtered between the start and end dates (inclusive).

The search results will be filtered between the start and end dates (both inclusive).

  • I like it, and hadn't thought of that. The only problem is that I am adding one day onto the end date, so it isn't exclusive until I modify the date. – Jerome Viveiros Oct 9 '15 at 10:15
  • In that case, both dates are inclusive. That's not actually clear from your description in the question. "...between the start date and end date (both inclusive)." Edited. – Andrew Leach Oct 9 '15 at 10:37

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