by vs. within
A man rushes into his house and yells to his wife, “Martha, pack up your things! I’ve just won the lottery!” Martha responds excitedly “Shall I pack for warm weather or cold?” The man responds, “I don’t care ... just as long as you’re out of the house by midday!”
✓ I need the report on my desk by Friday.
✗ I need the report on my desk *within* Friday.
Ho bisogno della relazione sulla mia scrivania entro venerdì.
The Italian preposition entro has two common translations in English: by with a point in time and within with a period of time.
Here are some more examples illustrating by:
✓ We should be home by nine o’clock at the latest. (by + point in time)
✗ We should be home *within* nine o’clock at the latest.
Dovremmo essere a casa per le nove al più tardì.
✓ I want to lose five kilos by Christmas.
Voglio perdere cinque chili entro Natale.
✓ I’ll have left by the time you get back.
Sarò partito ora che torni.
✓ We were all crying by the end of the film.
Piangevamo tutti ora della fine del film.
And here are some examples illustrating within:
✓ We aim to answer all enquiries within twenty-four hours. (within + period of time)
✗ We aim to answer all enquiries *by* twenty-four hours.
Cerchiamo di rispondere a tutte le richieste d’informazioni entro ventiquattro ore.
✓ Driverless cars will become common within the next twenty years.
Le auto senza conducente diventeranno comuni entro i prossimi vent’anni.
✓ You’ll become unconscious within a minute of the anaesthetic.
Perderai coscienza entro un minuto dall’anestesia.
Now try the quiz below! There are TEN answers. The passmark is 90% (9 out of 10). Click on the blue arrows to go to the next or previous question. You can check your answers immediately or when you've finished the quiz.