I have this question that my brain cannot understand because for me it seems to be very illogical. Please, try to explain this to me. It is both english problem but also my native language problem.

For example: If I bought something two days ago. (e.g. Monday, so today is Wednesday) I can't say during Wednesday that I haven't bought anything for 2 days.

Because I skiped just one day and I can still buy something today no? So I would say which makes more logic to me: I haven't bought anything for 1 day.

Same as if I was at the club on Monday now is Wednesday, I would say I haven't been to that club for 1 day. Since today I can still go there. However, i saw more people using it the other way. Which in my opinion is illogical.

They say: I haven't bought anything for 2 days OR I haven't been to that club for 2 days meaning the last time they were there was two days ago. However how logical is it? Imagine you come to that club on Wednesday if you were there on Monday and say to the same barman you saw there on Monday that you haven't been here for 2 days and he would look like: what? are you stupid? You weren't here just one day.

Like as the first question, I haven't purchased anything for 2 days is valid only if you last purchased something on monday and today is thursday, in my opinion, because we should not count monday since you already bought something.

Does anybody get my point? Thanks for answers and your help.


English usage generally doesn't treat time like the atomic clock time standard. In conversation, it usually doesn't even have the precision of a legal or forensic discussion, it is often intended only to convey a general sense of the timeframe involved, in which case the phrasing to express time precisely doesn't really matter.

One thing that contributes to this is the various ways you can express or mean time. Are you referring to calendar days or 24 hour intervals? How do you reflect fractional days--round to the nearest whole day or treat it like you treat years for birthdays, where you're not a year older until your actual birthday?

What are the consequences of imprecision? For forensic work, characterizing a time period as two days when it was one, or vice versa, could be a serious error. If you're talking with a friend about a desire to go to a club because it feels like a long time since you last went, an exact day count is almost irrelevant. You could say, "It feels like forever since I went there."

In the context of the question, time is somewhat ambiguous and can mean whatever you think it means, or what is generally understood between you and your friends. Personally, I would interpret "two days" in this context to mean closer to 48 hours than to 24 or 72 hours since the time of the last event. Whether there is still time to go that could be considered in the same time period is irrelevant.

The question discusses your friend calling you out about expressing the time period incorrectly. Because of the ambiguity of expressing time, that kind of confusion could easily happen, in which case, the answer is, "What I meant by that was..." And then it is your friend who looks stupid for trying to make you look stupid due to their failing to allow for normal ambiguity in the language.


You're counting the day you're on (Wednesday) or the day you bought the item. It makes sense that in your native language it doesn't work, because it won't have worked in any language. Just say 'I haven't bought anything in two days' and people will catch your drift.


Just say

I haven't bought anything since Monday

In terms of number of days, it depends on when you say it. If you say it early in the morning

for two days

could be taken as meaning

Since two days before yesterday

If you say it in the afternoon or evening it could be taken as meaning

Since the day before yesterday

There's a grey area between late morning and early afternoon when it could be taken either way which is why

I haven't bought anything since Monday

is the best option.

  • 2
    But in matter of days what do you say? If you want to say the number – Peter Mar 18 '17 at 9:37
  • If you say on Wednesday afternoon that you haven't bought anything for two days in the U.K. and, I presume, in the U.S. people will take that to mean that you haven't bought anything today or on Tuesday. If you say it early on Wednesday morning they will take that to mean Tuesday and Monday. – Chris M Mar 18 '17 at 10:09

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