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The text is from BBC web site:

"....Under the measures, Austrians will be asked to work from home, non-essential shops will close, and schools will remain open for children who require face-to-face learning. They will continue until 12 December, but will be reassessed after 10 days."

The expression "...after 10 days" seems a little bit unusual to me, because it refers to future. As a rule, when we talk about future, we use "in", not "after", or at least this is what they teach us at schools.

For instance, we say "I will fly to London in 2 days' time." We would not say "I will fly to London after 10 days"

So, my question is: Is the usage above "...after 10 days" a correct usage? In other words, is it correct English to use "after" for future like it was used by the BBC.

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  • 1
    When quoting a website, remember to include the link to the website. It's important.
    – James K
    Nov 20, 2021 at 18:37
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    It means after 10 days have passed. It is completely standard. In ten days can mean on day 10. After 10 days means anytime after ten days have passed.
    – Lambie
    Nov 20, 2021 at 20:00
  • To add to what Lambie says, this wording suggests there's a requirement that they wait 10 days before reassessment, rather than a schedule to reassess 10 days later.
    – gotube
    Nov 21, 2021 at 5:48

6 Answers 6

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OP is mistaken in thinking that native Anglophones wouldn't say I will fly to London after 10 days.

The only relevant factor here is that after [some amount of time] requires a context within which some particular point in time (past or future) has already been established. Thus...

I'll go to Glasgow on December the 12th, and stay with my aunt. I will fly to London after 10 days.

...is fine. The fact that this is a reference to future actions is irrelevant, since we can also say...

I went to Glasgow in June and stayed with my aunt. I flew to London after 10 days.


EDIT: Note that as it happens, I placed adverbial after BEFORE the relevant "duration, amount of time" (10 days, here), but syntactically speaking it would be fine (and mean exactly the same) if I'd placed it AFTER the duration (...fly / flew to London 10 days after. As with many adverbs in English, the exact position is flexible - particularly if there's no scope for alternative interpretations, as is the case here.

Also note that we can replace after by later without changing the meaning - but only as ...10 days later (the sequence later 10 days is never valid in English).


EDIT2: IMHO, the cited usage in the BBC article is poorly phrased, and even many native Anglophones might struggle to answer "10 days after what?" (in the context of "When will the policy of keeping schools open be reassessed?").

Logically, the only interpretation that makes sense is The policy of keeping schools open will be reassessed 10 days after the lockdown is introduced on Monday 22nd Nov (i.e. - the reassessment is scheduled to take place on 2nd Dec). But the way it's phrased strongly steers us to assume the reassessment will take place ten days after the most recently-mentioned date (12th Dec), even though logically, that makes no sense.

Syntactically, it's even possible that what's to be reassessed after 10 days is the entire lockdown policy - but that's just another reason why I say the text isn't well constructed. I'm as certain as I can be that the intention is to say that specifically the policy in relation to schools should be reassessed after 10 days.

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  • Would you mind terribly using the OP? OP sounds so awful to my ear. Dog will eat food after ten minutes. haha
    – Lambie
    Nov 20, 2021 at 20:01
  • FumbleFingers, Thanks for the answer. I understand your explanation which really is good. But this time, I got confused with the syntax. If the particular point in time (future) has already been established: Should we say "I will fly to London after 10 days." or, should we say "I will fly to London 10 days after." I mean if a particular point in time (future) has already been established, then it should be "....10 days after (that), that being the particular point in time in the future. Is that right?
    – yunus
    Nov 20, 2021 at 20:02
  • @Lambie - dog of my own once—pointer—surprising instinct—out shooting one day—entering inclosure—whistled—dog stopped—whistled again—Ponto—no go; stock still—called him—Ponto, Ponto—wouldn’t move—dog transfixed—staring at a board—looked up, saw an inscription—“Gamekeeper has orders to shoot all dogs found in this inclosure”—wouldn’t pass it—wonderful dog—valuable dog that—very.’ Nov 20, 2021 at 20:19
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    I am a native British English speaker and I would never say (in the contexts you use) "I will fly to London after 10 days". It sounds very odd. I am not sure what your first example sentence even means - the 22nd or at some point in the future no less than 10 days later. Nov 21, 2021 at 10:41
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    @FrancisDavey: I'm surprised. What do you think of, for example, My grand-daughter's face was completely healed and we were both discharged from the hospital about two weeks after and went home together. In that example, the established "narrative reference time" is that point in the past when the grand-daughter's face was completely healed (they left hospital 2 weeks later than that). Is that OK for you? Nov 21, 2021 at 13:10
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Breaking it down:

  • The vaccination was in April.
  • You could get the booster after six months [had passed].

In other words, as of September onwards.

Likewise:
They will continue until 12 December, but will be reassessed after 10 days."

That means as of 22 December, those measures will be reassessed. Anytime AFTER that. It is not specific.

Those measures will be reassessed in 10 days= exact. Day 1 + 10. Only on December 22.

Those measures will be reassessed within 10 days.
Before the 10 days are finished.

This is just a general guide. Sometimes "in" is used for the "within" idea. But not in carefully written pieces.

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  • @Mari-LouA They (the measures). yes. They will be reassessed. Thanks.
    – Lambie
    Nov 28, 2021 at 15:02
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I think the distinction here is when you start counting.

"I will fly to London in ten days' time" means ten days from now, the time of speaking. If you want to start counting the ten days from some other point, you would use "after" (or "later"), for example "I will go to New York, then fly to London after ten days" means that the ten days start when you arrive in New York ("... fly to London ten days later" would have the same meaning).

In context, the article starts

Days after Austria imposed a lockdown on the unvaccinated, it has announced a full national Covid-19 lockdown starting on Monday [22nd].

The article itself was written on Saturday 20th. So "after ten days" means that it will be reassessed on 2nd December (ten days after the lockdown starts), whereas "in ten days" would have meant on 30th November (ten days from the time of writing). The latter would also be poor reporting - you don't know exactly when the article will be read, so the best way to express "ten days from the time of writing" would be "on 30th November".

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There's a fairly subtle difference in meaning here. After 10 days means that the measures are in place now, and their effects will be reassessed after having 10 days experience with them.

If you say you will do something in 10 days, that implies that you are not doing it now, and won't be doing it until those 10 days have passed.

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  • Re your second paragraph, it's also quite possible to say something like I can't start your job until next month, but once I can get started, I'll do it in 10 days. Normally meaning the duration of the job will be 10 days, but in some circumstances that might mean 10 days of work (spread over two weeks or more, but the work will be booked / charged as 10 days, regardless of elapsed time). Nov 21, 2021 at 13:32
  • @FumbleFingers: But after 10 days of working on it, I tell the customer that I'll have it done in 20 days :-)
    – jamesqf
    Nov 21, 2021 at 17:38
  • I can see you'll be successful as a self-employed contractor! If they query the bill for 20 days of your time presented 10 days after you started the job, just tell them you had to hire a guy to work alongside you! Nov 21, 2021 at 17:49
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Since this is an article about Austria, and I am Austrian, I guess there is something I can add as detail. I found quite the same statement in German (Austria's native language) at www.austria.info on 21st of November, so one day before the lockdown begins:

Dieser Lockdown ab Montag, 22. November wird nach 10 Tagen evaluiert und soll spätestens mit 13. Dezember enden.

Emphasis by me. I emphasised the word nach, which literally means after. Translation by me:

This lockdown starting with Monday, 22nd of November will be reassessed after 10 days and should end latest with 13th of December.

If the German sentence contained the word in (engl. in) instead of nach (engl. after), I would translate it with in but understand it differently:

  • When I read this sentence on Friday, 19th of November (the lockdown was issued on Thursday for entire Austria), I assume that in 10 Tagen (in 10 days) means: 19th of November (from when I read it or from when the article was published) plus 10 days, which is 29th of November.
  • However, nach 10 Tagen (after 10 days) means: Measured from the 22nd, which is Thursday, the 2nd of December. That sounds more plausible, since the Austrian Corona commission meets every Thursday.
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Generally, this kind of use falls into a commonly used phrasing:

"[Action will be performed on Subject] after [Condition is fulfilled]"

For example: "I will eat this apple after I have brushed my teeth" "The money will enter my account after proof of identification has been provided"

The example in the OP is the same:

"[The situation] will be reassessed after 10 days"

However, as pointed out in the comments, it's important to note that this would actually be understood as

"[The situation] will be reassessed after 10 days have passed "

Note that while some people use "once" interchangeably with "after" in the context of this phrasing structure, "it will be reassessed once 10 days" doesn't make any sense at all.

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