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Does “notified by [date]” include the end date?

When someone says "I will do it by Monday", does it mean that they will get it done

  • before the beginning of Monday or
  • before the end of Monday?
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3 Answers 3

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Without further context, it generally means before the end of Monday. Now end can be defined as midnight, bedtime, end of work day, or any previously discussed time, depending on context.

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In my office, "by Monday" usually means the thing being completed will be available for use at some point on the Monday in question. I think, however, that it is extremely common that "by Monday" is used as a shortcut for "by COB Monday", with COB meaning "close of business".

I think it may vary. If there is a question, clarity and specificity are usually better. Specifying "COB Monday" or "by 2:00 pm Monday" removes the ambiguity.

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I agree with mikeY that it varies from group to group. In my experience, if someone says "by Monday", most people have the expectation that it will be available by the beginning of the working time on Monday (the exact timing of which is also open to interpretation).

The problem is especially difficult when members of the team are distributed across multiple time zones. Specificity is the best option. I suggest including time-zone data as well as times.

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  • @rhuffstedtler- Yes. "19:00 GMT" might be required at times. I am CST which is GMT-5.
    – mikeY
    Jul 13, 2012 at 19:44
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    The problem with that is that most people screw something up with timezones. For example, as of the time of writing, you're not in CST. You're in CDT. I always tell people to give the name of a nearby well-known city that they KNOW for sure the time of. In this case, "by 2 pm Chicago time".
    – mo.
    Jul 13, 2012 at 21:00

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