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I've come across this sentence:

We will not admit late submissions unless the student produces a doctor's certificate within two days of the deadline.

Imagine the deadline is March 30. What does "within two days of the deadline" mean?Does this mean that you have to present your certificate on either the 29th or the 30th of March or you have to present it before the 29th of March?

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Actually, No. On the contrary, if the deadline is on March 30th, and a student is late, then he must produce a doctor's certificate and submit it by April 1st.

The deadline is on March 30th. The statement clearly states that in case any student is late to submit the submission, he will be excused only if he submits a doctor's certificate within 2 days.

So he has to submit the certificate from a doctor stating the reason behind his delay by April 1st. ("By April 1st" implies that he must submit it on March 31st or April 1st, beyond which his certificate will be deemed invalid/ useless).

If the deadline was on March 30th, and he comes up late and submits it on April 2nd, it will not be accepted, irrespective of his possession of a doctor's certificate.

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    +1 I agree that this is what the phrase "within two days" should mean, but I would be a little careful -- the phrase is a little ambiguous and the original writer may disagree. I'd ask for a clarification if it were something important.
    – hunter
    Jul 18, 2016 at 12:50
  • This is not a real case, it is just an example. If "within a period of time" means that from a starting point you count that period of time. So, "within two days" for me is that from a certain point of time (30th March, say the last minute), you count 48 hours, either onwards or backwards. I thought it would be "backwards"; so 48 hours backwards means the last minute of the March 28th. If onwards, I can't see why April 2nd is too late, since "within two days" is "within 48 hours", and 48 hours from midnight of March 31s is midnight of April 2nd (to April 3rd). Does that make sense?
    – erdk
    Jul 18, 2016 at 13:25

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