I have sometimes the need to tell other people to get back to me at a later time and I don't know how to express that correctly in English

For example, if I'm invited to participate in a project and I couldn't do that before a given date, I tried this:

Thanks for inviting me! Unfortunately, I won't be available until March 25th; feel free to contact me by then

Is the above correct? Is this understandable for a native English speaker or is there a better way to say that?

  • 9
    "by" means "before" in this usage. By asking them to contact you by then, they can do it by contacting you now. Perhaps you mean "contact me around then" or "contact me then" or "contact me after that". Jan 12, 2020 at 15:47
  • 1
    @MikeGraham thank you for your comment! That's the answer I was looking for!
    – tvs
    Jan 12, 2020 at 15:58
  • Is this about a social engagement or a business one?
    – The Photon
    Jan 12, 2020 at 16:44
  • @MikeGraham Please make that an answer.
    – StephenS
    Sep 17, 2020 at 19:24
  • It would probably be more polite to add please, e.g. "please feel free to contact me then" or just "please contact me then". Depending on context "feel free" on its own seems a bit casual or unwelcoming to me, with the implication "do it or don't, I don't care".
    – Stuart F
    Oct 21, 2020 at 10:15

2 Answers 2


Seems fine to me. I am a bit of confuse because by then is very similar to German bis dann "until then", but actually this makes perfect sense to get in contact approaching the date, before it actually passes.

I can hardly think of a better alternative.

  • 6
    There's already a better alternative suggested in Mike Graham's comment.
    – user888379
    Jan 12, 2020 at 16:13

You just need a minor tweak to what you wrote ("then" instead of "by then"). Here's what I would say:

Thanks for inviting me! Unfortunately, I won't be available until March 25th. Please contact me then if you still need another project team member.

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