I came across a non-authoritative source (no link to source possible) that stated the following for time ranges:

between-and, excludes both endpoints, e.g., between May and July - meaning: June
from-to, excludes the last endpoint, e.g., from May to July - meaning: May and June
from-through, includes both endpoints, e.g., from May through July - meaning: May, June, and July

This is the first time, I hear that. Is this information correct?
Would this be the same for year ranges (e.g., between 2017 and 2019 refers to 2018)?

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    I wouldn't understand them in that way, especially when whole months are involved. If you mean 'in June', why not say so? Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:17
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    @MaciejStachowski: I agree that in some contexts, I work between Monday and Friday might be taken as implying that I work irregular days - but only ever days from that range; I don't work weekends. But the bottom line here is English isn't that precise - but since Mon-Fri inclusive is a well-established set of days, that's the default interpretation regardless of any prepositions and other aspects of orthography. And that was essentially my point - context can make a lot of difference to interpretation of ranges. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:45
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    @Mr.T: For the avoidance of doubt, I could always say We work [from] Monday to Friday inclusive. It would be very "unusual / clunky" for anyone to use that format with, say, We work [from] Sunday to Saturday exclusive. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:48
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    I would understand all your examples to be inclusive (but, being British, I wouldn't use through). Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:56
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    It's irrelevant whether we're talking about a timeframe (spanning seconds, day, years, millennia,...) or any other range of "scalar" values (heights, weights, or just abstract numbers). Unless you explicitly specify something like inclusive, there's always the chance your audience will be unsure whether either or both of the "start" and "end" values are supposed to be included within the range. There is no "definitive rule", and your unnamed source is just presenting their own peculiar preconceptions, not shared by many others. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


English requires extra work for specifically pinpointing time ranges and time spans. You cannot merely rely on the prepositions. You will need to be certain and possibly confirm that the listener understands when. Your question overlaps with English speakers use of This Wednesday, Last Wednesday, Next Wednesday. These things can be understood differently by different speakers at different times.

Your understanding of between, from, to, and through is correct, however, you cannot assume a listener will have the same level of discipline in applying those prepositions to time frames.

We talk about your date ranges in ways such as these,

From the beginning of May through [until/to] the end of October.
Means May 1 - October 31, including May 1 and Oct 31.

Between February 1st and the last day of June.
Means Feb 1 - June 30, including Feb 1 and June 30.

The prepositions are still there but we provide the actual date. Never assume your listener understands between [two dates] in the same way you do.

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