back vs forward vs up in time :

back or forward or up in time

These words can cause confusion when used to talk about the time of an event. When some people say “Let’s move the meeting back”, they mean earlier.

Other people understand it mean later. The opposite goes for ‘forward’ and ‘up’. To most people, “Let’s move the starting time forward” or “My interview time has been moved up” would mean later, but could still be confused as meaning earlier.

The safest bet is to spell out the meaning clearly: “My interview time has been moved ahead one hour, from 1 to 2”, or “Let’s move the meeting a day earlier.” 

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  • n  the posterior part of a human (or animal) body from the neck to the end of the spine
    his back was nicely tanned
  • n  the side that goes last or is not normally seen
    he wrote the date on the back of the photograph
  • n  the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer
    he stood at the back of the stage
  • n  (football) a person who plays in the backfield
  • n  the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord
    the fall broke his back
  • n  the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book
  • n  the part of a garment that covers the back of your body
    they pinned a `kick me' sign on his back
  • n  a support that you can lean against while sitting
    the back of the dental chair was adjustable
  • n  (American football) the position of a player on a football team who is stationed behind the line of scrimmage
  • v  be behind; approve of
    I backed Kennedy in 1960
  • v  travel backward
    back into the driveway
    The car backed up and hit the tree
  • v  give support or one's approval to
    I can't back this plan
  • v  cause to travel backward
    back the car into the parking spot
  • v  support financial backing for
    back this enterprise
  • v  be in back of
    My garage backs their yard
  • v  place a bet on
    Which horse are you backing?
  • v  shift to a counterclockwise direction
    the wind backed
  • v  establish as valid or genuine
    Can you back up your claims?
  • v  strengthen by providing with a back or backing
  • a  related to or located at the back
    the back yard
    the back entrance
  • s  located at or near the back of an animal
    back (or hind) legs
  • s  of an earlier date
    back issues of the magazine
  • r  in or to or toward a former location
    she went back to her parents' house
  • r  at or to or toward the back or rear
    he moved back
    tripped when he stepped backward
  • r  in or to or toward an original condition
    he went back to sleep
  • r  in or to or toward a past time
    set the clocks back an hour
    never look back
    lovers of the past looking fondly backward
  • r  in reply
    he wrote back three days later
  • r  in repayment or retaliation
    we paid back everything we had borrowed
    he hit me and I hit him back
    I was kept in after school for talking back to the teacher

  • n  the person who plays the position of forward in certain games, such as basketball, soccer, or hockey
  • n  a position on a basketball, soccer, or hockey team
  • v  send or ship onward from an intermediate post or station in transit
    forward my mail
  • a  at or near or directed toward the front
    the forward section of the aircraft
    a forward plunge down the stairs
    forward motion
  • a  used of temperament or behavior; lacking restraint or modesty
    a forward child badly in need of discipline
  • a  of the transmission gear causing forward movement in a motor vehicle
    in a forward gear
  • s  moving forward
  • r  at or to or toward the front; (`forrad' and `forrard' are dialectal variations)
    he faced forward
    step forward
  • r  forward in time or order or degree
  • r  toward the future; forward in time
    I look forward to seeing you
  • r  in a forward direction
    they went slowly forward in the mud
  • r  near or toward the bow of a ship or cockpit of a plane
    the captain went fore (or forward) to check the instruments
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