1. ## before and by

Dear teachers,

This might be a silly question. But I just need to make sure of the meaning of each.

'before 6 p.m. next Monday' means 'earlier than 6 p.m.'. How early? Is it 5 p.m. next Monday?
'by 6 p.m next Monday' means '6 p.m next Mondy' is included. So it should be any time to 5:59 p.m. next Monday?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jiang

2. ## Re: before and by

Not much difference.

Before you go out, clean your room.
(With my kids, that usually meant just minutes before he went out, somehow the room got cleaned)

Clean your room by 6 p.m.
(That was also done just before the deadline)

3. ## Re: before and by

Originally Posted by susiedqq
Not much difference.

Before you go out, clean your room.
(With my kids, that usually meant just minutes before he went out, somehow the room got cleaned)
Your example is easy to understand because it is a rough time. He might finish doing it two or half an hour before he goes out.
What time is it before 6 p.m? Is it 5 or 5:40, 5:50 ?

Clean your room by 6 p.m.
(That was also done just before the deadline)
Do you mean it is time between 5:50 or 6:00 p.m?
But my teacher explained that if he said on Friday "Finish the homework before 6 p.m next Monday" that means any time between Friday and 6 p.m. next Monday. Is that right?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jiang

4. ## Re: before and by

As long as whatever it is that has to happen happens by 5:59:59 pm that, you have met the requirement. I can be done as early before 6 as you want.

If you see something like "Shortly before 6" then you can assume it's somewhere between 5:30 and 6. The longer the interval between when it's said and 6, the greater the possible time frame.

If at 10 am, I say "shortly before 6" it could be 5:30. If I say it at 5:15, then it's probably more like 5:50 or even 5:55.

5. ## Re: before and by

Dear Barb_D,

Thank you very much for your explanaiton. I have to explain them in my own words to make sure I understand your explanation:

As long as whatever it is that has to happen happens by 5:59:59 pm that, you have met the requirement. I can be done as early before 6 as you want.
This is the usage of ''by''. Is that right?

If you see something like "Shortly before 6" then you can assume it's somewhere between 5:30 and 6. The longer the interval between when it's said and 6, the greater the possible time frame.
If at 10 am, I say "shortly before 6" it could be 5:30. If I say it at 5:15, then it's probably more like 5:50 or even 5:55.

If at 6 am then "shortly before 6" could be 5 o'clock. Is that right? And 5:55 is the maximum time? In other words, if I use before it should be no later than 5:55?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jiang

Originally Posted by Barb_D
As long as whatever it is that has to happen happens by 5:59:59 pm that, you have met the requirement. I can be done as early before 6 as you want.

If you see something like "Shortly before 6" then you can assume it's somewhere between 5:30 and 6. The longer the interval between when it's said and 6, the greater the possible time frame.

If at 10 am, I say "shortly before 6" it could be 5:30. If I say it at 5:15, then it's probably more like 5:50 or even 5:55.

6. ## Re: before and by

Originally Posted by jiang
Dear teachers,

This might be a silly question. But I just need to make sure of the meaning of each.

'before 6 p.m. next Monday' means 'earlier than 6 p.m.'. How early? Is it 5 p.m. next Monday?
'by 6 p.m next Monday' means '6 p.m next Mondy' is included. So it should be any time to 5:59 p.m. next Monday?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jiang
I don't think it's worth making a distinction if you're talking about a specific point in time like 6pm. However, if you are referring to a period of time, there is a difference.
"I'll have it finished before Friday" means it will be finished by Thursday; because if it isn't finished by the end of Thursday, it hasn't been finished before Friday.
(Note that mechanics and other service providers might disagree. But their forte isn't grammar. You cannot rely on ordinary people agreeing with you about the meaning of "by" and "before", especially if they said it would be done before Friday, and they don't have it done by the end of Thursday. Your respective lawyers would have to argue the point.)

7. ## Re: before and by

Hi Raymott,

Thank you for your explanation. Again this is a multiple choice exercise and I have to decide between the two.

Have a nice weekend.

Jiang
Originally Posted by Raymott
I don't think it's worth making a distinction if you're talking about a specific point in time like 6pm. However, if you are referring to a period of time, there is a difference.
"I'll have it finished before Friday" means it will be finished by Thursday; because if it isn't finished by the end of Thursday, it hasn't been finished before Friday.
(Note that mechanics and other service providers might disagree. But their forte isn't grammar. You cannot rely on ordinary people agreeing with you about the meaning of "by" and "before", especially if they said it would be done before Friday, and they don't have it done by the end of Thursday. Your respective lawyers would have to argue the point.)

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