Q1: "I'll finish this job within 5 days" definitely means the job is expected to cost 5 days or less. However, does "I'll finish this job in 5 days" mean exactly the same?

Q2: Can we say, "I'll finish this job in 5 to 10 days" ?

This question is similar to "In 15 minutes" or "15 minutes later"?

  • Both versions are vague and can have different interpretations. They are not accurately defined. – Kris Jan 20 '12 at 12:02

Hmm. Within 5 days means, as you say, in 5 days or a shorter period. In 5 days will usually be taken to mean the job will take the whole 5 days and not less.

Yes, I'll finish this job in 5 to 10 days allows you a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 10 days to finish the job.

  • Thanks. As Chinese speaker, it is intuitively weird to express the actual meaning of "after 5 days" as "in 5 days". So, do native English speakers say "after 5 days" if they are sure it will cost at least 5 days? – Jimm Chen Jan 20 '12 at 11:52
  • @JimmChen: It's unlikely that anyone would say 'I'll finish the job after 5 days'. 'I'll have finished the job after 5 days' is possible, but even that is more likely to occur as 'I'll have finished the job in 5 days.' – Barrie England Jan 21 '12 at 7:46

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