A lady in a british movie is talking about her neighbour's death and she says: "She died by yesterday."

I have never seen or heard "by yesterday" and I am not sure if it is correct in formal English.

So my question is: Why does she say "She died by yesterday", while "She died yesterday" would be good enough.


Here is the link of movie where the sentence is used. Please see the 10:05 (minute-seconds) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOsOFGG5Vc4

  • I strongly suspect that you misheard. Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 18:43
  • Assuming that's what was actually said, it's nonstandard. While it's understandable, a more natural way of expressing the same thing would be: She was alive until yesterday. (Assuming it was already known that she had died, that is.) Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 20:08
  • Michael Harvey, see and hear it yourself. It also has subtitles. Please see the 10:05 (minute-seconds) youtube.com/watch?v=NOsOFGG5Vc4
    – Yunus
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


The subtitles are wrong; the spoken words are "She died but yesterday", 'but' is clearly audible to a native speaker, and are also present in the script. "But yesterday" means "only yesterday".

Part of script

  • Ohhhhh. This was one of the newest things in the English language I have never heard before. thank you Michael. I appreciate your contribution. It has really really been a great contribution to my English. I have been learning English for years and I have never seen the word "but" can also be used in this way which meant "only". Thank you very much. Now the sentence makes sense.
    – Yunus
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 8:26

I don't recall ever having heard "by yesterday " used in that way, or in any similar way. I would favor

She died yesterday.

Which is certainly an utterly standard usage.

Once could say

She expected to be done by yesterday.

or any similar use. I am imagine a forensic investigator, say a character on CSI, saying

From the temperature of the body, she must have died by yesterday.

meaning "no later than yesterday". Although "...been dead by yesterday" would be a more natural usage.


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