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The machine will start automatically in ten minutes.

The machine will start automatically within ten minutes.

What's the difference between the two sentences?

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    Essentially, if it starts in ten minutes the implication is it will start exactly ten minutes from time of utterance. Replacing this with within means it will start at any time between "now" and ten minutes later than time of utterance. Apr 14, 2017 at 15:38

1 Answer 1

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If someone says;

The machine will start automatically in ten minutes.

It is pretty self explanatory, they are saying an exact time that the machine will start.

But if they say;

The machine will start automatically within ten minutes.

Then they are just saying any time less than or equal to ten minutes.

If someone says the first sentence they are saying in ten minutes from now the machine will start. If someone says the second sentence they are saying in some time less than ten minutes the machine will start.

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    Less than or equal to, I would say – not strictly less than.
    – J.R.
    Apr 14, 2017 at 15:44
  • Yeah I guess that is more correct. @J.R. Apr 14, 2017 at 15:46
  • Can I say 'ten minutes later' instead of 'in ten minutes? Apr 14, 2017 at 16:25
  • @AbuNaimMuhammedKalil. "ten minutes later" would be ten minutes after some other specified event, not ten minutes from now. For example, you could say "I will switch on the power after lunch. The machine will start automatically ten minutes later". That means the machine will start ten minutes after the power goes on, not ten minutes from now.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 14, 2017 at 17:01

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