I'm wondering whether it's correct to use the construction "instalments of + TIME" with the word instalment to express the 'length' of the instalment?

For instance, can I say

Payment may be paid in instalments of no less than a month each

to express that the time elapsing between payments must be no less than a month?

If I can't say this, do you have any suggestions for alternative solutions?

Thank you!

Edit: I realise that the situation I'm assuming here may not be too common (although it does exist; my example is authentic, only it's in a different language), but that's not what I'm asking about – I'm only asking whether the sentence is correct from a language point of view, and whether it expresses the meaning 'instalments occurring once a month or less often'. :)

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    In my country, usually, repayment or instalment-purchase plans do not offer the option of varying the interval between payments, e.g. "The sum loaned is to be repaid in 36 monthly repayments". Sep 25, 2021 at 14:42
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    Payment may be paid in instalments no less than monthly (or ...in no less than monthly instalments). Though as @MichaelHarvey points out, most Western companies wouldn't offer the option of anything other than Payment may be paid in monthly instalments. But most computerised ledgers should be quite capable of recording any additional "interim" weekly payments correctly anyway, so in practice that option might be available even if not explicitly mentioned. Sep 25, 2021 at 14:59
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    I wrote 'claims should be submitted at intervals no less frequent than monthly' when drafting my organisation's policy on expenses claiming. Otherwise people leave them until year-end or when they get around to it, which we don't like. Sep 25, 2021 at 15:54
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    Yes, of course it means that there must be no more than a month between instalments. No company is going to offer "easy payment" terms where the customer gets to choose arbitrarily long periods between repayments (people would just choose to make one payment every century! :) Sep 25, 2021 at 15:58
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    I personally don't like your ...in instalments of no less than a month each. Not least because if we discard the optional "no less than" constraint, we're left with instalments of a month each, which I would say is syntactic nonsense (it's certainly a non-starter compared to monthly instalments). Note hat precisely because your intended meaning is so "unusual", it's not a good idea to express it using unfamiliar / potentially suspect phrasing. I suggest you use many more words, to make your meaning crystal clear. Sep 25, 2021 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


To express the idea of longer or shorter intervals between repeated events, we can say no less (or no more) often (or frequent) than some time indicator thus no less often than monthly, no more frequent than quarterly.

  • So, would you say that "Payment may be paid in instalments no more often than monthly" would work? From a strict language point of view, that is.
    – Helen
    Sep 25, 2021 at 16:33
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    It would work from a language point of view, but does it mean what you want it to mean? You're saying every three weeks is bad, every five weeks is OK. I don't know why anyone would want to do this; it sounds like a lot of trouble. Sep 25, 2021 at 16:39
  • Yes – that's exactly what I mean to say :) Or rather: that's what the person I'm translating for wants to say. And who am I to question him? :) Thank you so much for your patience and excellent help!
    – Helen
    Sep 25, 2021 at 16:54

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