What does "until Friday" mean?

"I am out of the office until 1/9/2006" means:

  • I will resume work on the 9th
  • The last day of my vacation is the 9th; I’ll resume work on the 10th

0 voters

Just checking on how strong the consensus is on whether the end of the timeframe specified by “until” is inclusive or exclusive (at a student’s request). Native speakers of English only please.

Edit: read 1/9 as Jan. 9 pls. :raspberry: :slight_smile:

A pet peeve of mine - whay can’t people just say what they mean.
“I’m going on vacation. I’ll be back to work on the 10th.”

It means “I will resume work on the 2nd” But I can’t find that option.
TC is right, why mention a date when you’re not there ? Which is confusing and vague and therefore should be rephrased.
If you say “I’m working until Wednesday” It’s obviously inclusive. But “I can’t leave until Wednesday” is exclusive. :help:

I think the fact that you had to ask shows it can be ambigious.

A legal argument on the meaning of the word “until”:
oag.state.ny.us/lawyers/opin … 01_F2.html

Further example -
I make a hotel reseration, from the 3rd until the 9th. It means I wil be at the hotel until the 9th. Thats my check-out day.

you get vacations???

Lucky bastard. :raspberry:

I went along with the majority view that “I am out of the office until 1/9/2006” means you will resume work on the 9th. If the 9th is the last day of vacation it should read “I will be out of the office through 1/9/06.”

Or, an attorney might state, “I will be out of the office up to and including 1/9/06.”

But if one is really anal about one’s messages, the best solution might be that raised by others above, “I will be out of the office through 1/9/06 and will return on 1/10/06.”

In any event, if the message is really good it will give the name and contact info of your assistant who can be reached in the event of emergency and that person can straighten out any confusion.

I agree with MT. But I did expect about 1 out of 6 people to read it the other way. As a result, when reading such a message, one can’t be absolutely sure what the writer meant. This was a real example, which a student had trouble interpreting – and since the writer happens to be non-native too, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance on the intended meaning.

Thanks, all!


I’m on holiday until the 9th would be ambiguous.

I’m out of the office until the 9th still leaves a small feeling of uncertainty but you’d expect them to be there on the 9th.

If we were talking lawyers you’d seriously want a new one that would not leave loop holes lying around.