1. Finish the work within tonight.
  2. Finish the work by tonight.

Are they both correct? The meaning of the two sentences might be different.

1 Answer 1


By tonight means by the end of the current day.

Within tonight is not an idiomatic phrase. It could be understood to mean during the current night, but for that we would normally say by [the] morning.

If you are a beginner in English you might find https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions more helpful.

  • I'd add that "by tonight" can be unacceptably vague depending on context. In a context where you finish work at 5 or 6pm, it obviously means finish by the end of the working day, but without that context it isn't clear whether "by tonight" would mean by 5pm or midnight. But yes "within tonight" is not idiomatic.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 14:45

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