What does by a date mean

I object to this question being a duplicate. The linked question addresses the interpretation of "by Monday". My question is whether it is correct to say "prior to Monday" at all, and also the meaning of it.
(The factor I'm asking is that I've been told that "prior to date" is incorrect and also one have to say "by date".)
FumbleFingers: it states that in the extremely first sentence, unmuch less I'm missing something. Regarding the question you attach to, aobtain, it doesn't mention "prior to date" at all, which is exactly the allude of this question.
Tright here is a difference, yes.

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If you want the task to be ready on Tuesday morning, you would say

Please execute this prior to Tuesday

If you require it to be done either prior to or during Tuesday, you would certainly say

Please perform this by Tuesday

In other words, using by is inclusive, it means perform this on any day as much as and including the day stated. Using before is non inclusive, it suggests that I mean it to be done once I arrive on Tuesday morning.


If you desire to be exact and also desire it done literally before a certain time, then "before" is the the word to usage. If you want it done on or before the mentioned day or time, the "by" is the appropriate word.

A couple of other expressions that are provided (especially in business) are "not later than" (abbreviated NLT)) and "by cshed of business" (abbreviated COB).


Although, by interpretation, “prior to Tuesday” actually means “by Monday at the latest”, many kind of civilization still confusage “by” (up to AND including) and “before” (up to BUT excluding).

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So, in reply to the initial question, it is NOT incorrect to say "Please carry out this before Tuesday"... yet if you mean it can still be done on Tuesday, you have to definitely rephrase it as "Please do this BY Tuesday".

Also, also if you DO mean “prior to Tuesday” (i.e. NOT after Monday), you must still think about rephrasing it as “by Monday”, for the sake of clarity, because unconscious people can analyze it as “by” even when you really mean “before”.

Just save in mind that many civilization don"t take the time to inspect in dictionaries when they try to understand also instructions. They just go by instinct, so you can also make sure tright here is no possible ambiguity (whatever dictionaries or linguists could say).