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I'm a German native speaker and I struggle with translating a very German concept into English.

Whenever Germans plan a (business) event and send out an invitation, there is a good chance, that it will not only state the time when the actual event starts, but will also include a second time, which indicates when the doors will be opened for the attendees to come inside. This time in German is called "Einlass" or "Einlasszeit". Unfortunately the only translation that I could find was "admission", but I feel it sounds rather weird to write:

  • Business Event at Trade Fair - Admission: 01:00 p.m. Beginning: 01:30 p.m. End: 03:00 p.m.

With a theater play I'd say something like "Doors open: 01:00 p.m." but this sounds rather odd for a business event.

Do you have any suggestions, or is this concept of telling people to come early maybe rather inappropriate for invitations sent in English? If so, would you rather state the exact time, when the event will begin, assuming, that everybody will try their best to be there a bit early; or is it better to write a fake beginning time, and have the actual event will start half an hour after that time?

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  • For parties, etc, upper-class English people used to send invitations with (e.g.) '7PM for 7.30' meaning 'arrive between after 7 PM and well before 7.30'. Jan 12, 2023 at 18:52
  • admission is not an accurate term here.
    – Lambie
    Jan 12, 2023 at 22:50
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    @MichaelHarvey - Not, in my experience, limited to 'upper-class parties', but common enough at social events where people need time to find a seat and buy a drink before the quiz, talk or whatever starts. Jan 13, 2023 at 10:12
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    I don't find anything odd about 'Doors open' for a business event. Jan 13, 2023 at 10:16
  • @KateBunting - let's not forget 'Carriages at midnight' to indicate when to leave at the end. Jan 13, 2023 at 10:18

2 Answers 2

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"Doors open" can be used in almost any event context to identify the earliest time that people should arrive to be admitted. For a business event, there might be other pre-event happenings that you can refer to, such as "registration", "socializing", "cocktail hour", and so on. For example:

Business Seminar at Trade Fair. Doors open at 7 pm. Seminar begins at 8 pm.

Marketing seminar. Registration 7 to 7:30 pm. Seminar 7:30 pm.

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  • This is used for business and that type of thing, yes.
    – Lambie
    Jan 12, 2023 at 22:49
  • This may be preferred. People who are not members of upper-class English society may not understand the 1 pm for 1:30 pm usage. I find it alien. It's good to include commoners too.
    – EllieK
    Jan 25, 2023 at 19:40
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In a social context "for" can be used in the construction "1pm for 1:30pm". This is more appropriate for social invitations, in which being a little late is expected (the meaning is "I'm happy for you to come at 1pm. I accept you may want to be a little late to avoid being the first to arrive... but please come by 1:30 at the latest")

In a business context, in which there is no social expectation to be late, I can see no particular reason to give two start times. If you want people to arrive at 1:30 just say "1:30" (and don't mention the time when the doors open) If you actually want people to be present from 1pm (for registration etc), then just say 1pm. That is the real start time, not 1:30.

If it is essential that you mention both times, then your solution is fine. It is understandable, even if it seems a little odd. Note that to me 01:00pm looks odd. Either 1pm or 1:00pm or 13:00. (01:00 means 1am)

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