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Let's say I have an object such as a user account or some kind of certificate that is about to expire. What is the most idiomatic noun that describes the act to make it last longer and not expire?

I want to use it in an issue tracker in the ticket title, so my actual example "sentence" would be something like:

... of user account for service xyz

...where that user account is due to expire and its expiration date should be postponed. A complete sentence might be:

The ... of the user account was denied because the service has been superseded by [another].

The most suitable words I have found so far are "extension" and "prolongation". The examples from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary for both seem to fit (extend a contract, prolongation of human life). Although it sounds to me as if prolongation goes more with nouns that denote a time span, such as "life" and "holiday", rather than things that have an expiration date (I do not consider an account to denote a time span). On the other hand, "extension of a user account" sounds a bit strange to me (as a non-native speaker), as if I wanted additional privileges be granted to that account, or some other kind of upgrade.

  • Prolong and extend works and would be what I would use. Life and holidays also have expiration dates to be technical. You can extend and prolong a contract period just fine – Allan S. Hansen Jul 7 '17 at 8:00
  • 'continuation' of the user account? – Spagirl Jul 7 '17 at 10:23
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"Extension of the user account was denied because the service has been superseded by [another]." is perfectly fine to use. I wouldn't use "prolongation" it would sound awkward IMO. I have used that exact phrase in my ticketing system for the same reason you are describing. It will be clear and concise.

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Renew?

The sentence could be

The renewal of the user account was denied because the service has been superseded by [another].

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    Possibly, it depends on the OP's context. "Renew" more often goes with something that is periodic, e.g. a year long contract that gets renewed every year; it wouldn't work so well for something that was originally a year long, then 1 month is added, then 3 months is added, then 2 months is added. This answer would benefit from a dictionary definition, citation of where the definition is from, and a link to it. – AndyT Jul 7 '17 at 8:53

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