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When someone asks me something like—

  1. What have you been doing for the last week?
  2. What have you been up to for the past couple days?

—what do they mean by that?

Does they mean today and yesterday or yesterday and the day before yesterday? Is it customary to include the actual/current date within the time frame in question or does it mean a week/a couple days not including today?

For example, I was reviewing my Facebook page statistics to see data covering the prior seven days. The dates covered were January 22nd to 28th. However, when looking at similar information in Google Analytics, it covered January 21st to January 27th—excluding the current date.

Which of the two is correct, to include the day or not? Thank you!

  • Is today past or will it only be past tomorrow? – Jim Jan 28 '17 at 19:20
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    There is no standard, universal answer here. People are not speaking as precisely as you think they are or want them to be, and those that are can and do use different conventions. The only real guidance we can give you is "It doesn't matter. And when it really does mater, you have to ask". – Dan Bron Jan 28 '17 at 19:22
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    This is surely a duplicate of something. – Hot Licks Jan 28 '17 at 20:58
  • For 'week', most people would feel free to mention relevant events of the last 10 days say. 'Couple of days' maps roughly to 3 (or 4 if they had a baby then). – Edwin Ashworth Jan 29 '17 at 0:58
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Dan Bron wrote in an earlier comment:

There is no standard, universal answer here. People are not speaking as precisely as you think they are or want them to be, and those that are can and do use different conventions. The only real guidance we can give you is "It doesn't matter. And when it really does matter, you have to ask".

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In regards to the sentences "What have you been doing for the last week? What have you been up to for the past couple days?", it has two meanings literal and subconscious. 1)What did you do (in the time stated) or if it is said/written without a stated time it means since the last time you two talked. 2)Also it shows more of an interest from the speaker than simply "How are you?". It elicits more of a response and hence a conversation. It is a tactic (successfully or not) sometimes used by people to get a conversation with strangers to be more in depth.

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