While writing content for a website, I stuck at this sentence:

Our developers can complete the project by a given deadline.

I read here that 'in a given deadline' can also be written, however, I am not sure about its correctness. Google Ngram also shows that 'in a given deadline' is not found.

Now my question is: Can we write 'in a given deadline' for 'by a given deadline'?

  • Where did you read this "in a given deadline" can be written too? You should always provided sources when possible. Anyway, it sounds strange. I've never heard it.
    – Em.
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:33
  • You are perhaps looking for "within" rather than "in"
    – Leo
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:39
  • Can we use 'within' instead of 'by' for my sentence, @Leo?
    – Rucheer M
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:43
  • 1
    Yes. Within would be perfectly fine. In would not.
    – Catija
    Jul 11 '16 at 17:15
  • 1
    @RucheerM I'm not sure what you are asking. You were given better alternatives by native speakers but you continue to ask can we use "in a given deadline". Upon whose authority do you want this to be answered by? If you just want a straight yes or no answer, then fine, no.
    – Leo
    Jul 12 '16 at 2:10

Our developers can complete the project by the deadline.

There are many wordy alternatives, but this is probably the simplest.

  • as for the ngrams books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – gattsbr
    Jul 11 '16 at 19:09
  • This doesn't actually answer the question of whether "in" is an acceptable substitute.
    – Catija
    Jul 11 '16 at 19:12
  • @Catija they are all worded weirdly regardless of the acceptability -- such that the point of the sentence hasn't changed in any of the proposed alternatives.
    – gattsbr
    Jul 11 '16 at 19:17
  • Not to me... if this sentence appears on a bullet list of capabilities for a company, meaning "Here are the reasons you should hire us" - the current phrasing is actually quite correct. Your version does not suit that as well.
    – Catija
    Jul 11 '16 at 19:20
  • Ah I think I see, in that case, they would most likely lean to something like Our developers can complete your project by your deadline. or even just on time
    – gattsbr
    Jul 11 '16 at 19:28

You can use the phrases "in a deadline or within a deadline" to replace the phrase "by a deadline". They sound correct grammatically, though not used commonly. It's more usual or idiomatic to use the verb meet before a deadline. The use of "by a deadline" is preferred to that of "in/within a deadline", and the use of the phrase "meet a deadline" is the most common of these four phrases.

So you can say:

Our developers can meet a deadline for the project.

You can use the verb set or given, though not necessary, after the deadline if you want:

Our developers can meet a deadline set/given for the project.

  • A time is a time span, a length of time. A deadline is the end of a time span. Second, most or all those Ngram results for in a deadline are false positives. Additionally, the use of given is quite common and not redundant. Jul 11 '16 at 16:47
  • books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Khan
    Jul 13 '16 at 3:27

by vs. within

Personally both options "feel" okay to me.

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  • 1
    What about 'in'? Would you add it as well in your answer?
    – Rucheer M
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:53
  • I understand the meaning of "in a given deadline" but I wouldn't personally use it.
    – Leo
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:57
  • 1
    Is it okay to use it instead of 'by'?
    – Rucheer M
    Jul 11 '16 at 6:59

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