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Say the working hours of a bank are from 7am to 4pm.

Is it correct to say

The bank opens at 7 am and closes 4 pm ("open" & "close" are verbs)

or

The bank is open at 7 am and closed 4 pm ("open" & "closed" are adjectives)

Are the statements "The bank opens/closes at 7 am / 4 pm" and "The bank is open/closed at 7 am / 4pm" the same?

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The bank opens at 7 am.

This means that the bank is closed before 7 am, and open afterwards. The bank becomes open at 7 am.

The bank is open at 7 am.

This means that, if you went to the bank at 7 am, you would see that the bank is open. But it does not say whether the bank becomes open at 7 am. For example, it is possible that the bank opens at 6 am, and it remains open at 7 am. The sentence is true either way. Perhaps you could understand my meaning from context, but it is not guaranteed.

Therefore, you should say: The bank opens at 7 am and closes at 4 pm.


You could also say: The bank is open from 7 am to 4 pm. This means that the bank is open between those two times, and implies that it is closed at other times.

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    While this answer is technically correct, no 'native' is going to interpret things this way - both effectively mean exactly the same thing. Aug 27 at 10:52
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    Imagine the same bank above receiving a call from a customer: Is the bank open at 11am? What about 6pm? Reply: The bank is open at 11am and closed at 6pm. Context determines whether that sentence means "opens/closes", as the OP explained, and this applies even to "native" speakers.
    – March Ho
    Aug 27 at 12:26
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    @NotThatGuy and MarchHo - neither of your examples are anything like the OP, who appears to me to be pretty clearly talking about a written statement of opening hours. Aug 27 at 13:10
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    @MikeBrockington Any reasonable native speaker may indeed interpret the sentences given in the question in the same way. Outside of other context, they may consider both to be referring to opening hours, but, if so, they will consider one to be grammatically incorrect. Without more context, if someone were to write a story where they say "do no come closer dear" to a hoofed grazing or browsing animal, the logical interpretation is that they simply misspelled "deer", rather than the pure grammatical interpretation of it being their loved one. It doesn't change the definition of "dear".
    – NotThatGuy
    Aug 27 at 13:24
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    @MikeBrockington You have a point. I agree that a native speaker would be able to understand the meaning of the "is open" sentence from context (assuming the context is as you describe). And now that I'm looking, a Google search shows that there are cases where native speakers produce that kind of sentence. But I still hold that "opens" is both the more common form and more technically correct.
    – MJ713
    Aug 27 at 13:34
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Forget about the "at", since that only specifies a time without changing the meaning of the preceding words.

So let's just consider "The bank opens" and "The bank is open". You might already understand both and how they're different based on this alone.

In "The bank opens", "open" is a verb (like "The man runs"). It refers to the actual process of opening (like "The man runs" would refer to the process of the man running). Something needs to be happening. That is to say the bank actually goes from being closed to being open at the given time and this would specify the start of their opening hours.

In "The bank is open", "open" is an adjective (like "The man is blue"). It refers to the state of being open (like "The man is blue" would refer to the state of the man being blue). It just refers to how things currently are and doesn't say anything is currently happening. That is to say you can go into the bank at the given time (because it's open) and this could be at any point during their opening hours. The bank is open at 9. It's also open at 10 and 11 and 12.

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ALL of the proposed constructions are reasonable and potentially interchangeable in common usage. They would be more, or less, understandable from the audience's point of view, depending on the audience. You might find some variation of the suggested usages regionally (colloquial). Some of the constructions listed leave modest room for different interpretations, and thus, potential misunderstandings.

For instance,

-"The bank is open at 7 am and closed 4 pm"

does not specify that the bank closes at the hour of 4 PM. It grammatically specifies that the bank was closed by that time on some ungiven past day. The bank could be closing at 3:30. We don't know. It could have been closed some previous day at 4 PM, as closed is past tense. We don't know. However, in common usage, most listeners would assume that the speaker was referring to the same day, with the intended meaning of "will be closing at". This is because we have a common experience. We all know approximately what time the bank closes, and we expect the speaker to be consistent inside a sentence. For the speaker to jump from today ("open at 7") to yesterday ("closed 4") would be inconsistent.

A speaker concerned with clarity would more likely use the more specific construction, e.g. "closes at", or "is closed at". Also, while "it's closed at" is common usage, one could say that it is more correct to use "it will be closed at" (although this might also be pedantic).

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  • @NotThatGuy I think you need to read what was written more carefully.
    – Mark G B
    Aug 27 at 18:48
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    Comment v2: "Jumping from today ("open at 7") to yesterday ("closed 4") would be inconsistent" - Interpreting it as "The bank closed at 4 PM" would indeed be inconsistent, but that seems irrelevant, as the consistent interpretation would be "The bank is closed at 4 PM". The sentence is ambiguous and you picked the inconsistent interpretation instead of the consistent one, and then dismissed it as inconsistent in favour of interpreting it differently from consistent interpretation. Why even mention the inconsistent interpretation at all, when there's a perfectly consistent one available?
    – NotThatGuy
    Aug 27 at 19:47
  • On what basis are you saying that they are "reasonable and potentially interchangeable"? If you are asserting that they are in common usage, it's probably still worth highlighting that it's incorrect according to formal grammar. If you say it's reasonable simply because they'd be understandable, then you can post pretty much the same thing to pretty much any question asking which version is correct. If that were a valid answer, answers would lose most meaning. The only sensible way to answer would be either descriptively or prescriptively, not based on what others may be able to decipher.
    – NotThatGuy
    Aug 27 at 19:58
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In common usage, both would be correct, but "is open at…" will never appear in common usage.

Strictly, even "The bank opens/closes at 7 am / 4 pm" is unlikely to be seen in common usage.

Special abbreviations or purely individual styles are fine so long as you know that's what you're using.

Common usage pretty-much insists on "The bank opens at 7am and closes at 4pm" and it could be that's precisely to avoid this kind of doubt.

Readers might prefer different styles for time, such as 7:00am, and that's so much more specific and detailed, it doesn't much matter here.

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