I'm putting together canned date range options for a date range picker in an analytics app. I see commonly ranges like Last 30 Days and Last Month - the difference in including current time period or not. My question is more about the English definition...

Are these things all the same? - Last Week - Past Week - Previous Week

  • This might be better asked on the English Language and Usage StackExchange: english.stackexchange.com – Joel Tebbett Jul 17 '17 at 15:40
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about linguistics. – Andrew Martin Jul 17 '17 at 15:47

I would argue that this question could be purposed for UX, because different definitions could lead to different uses. That being said, it really is a semantics difference.

  • Last Week: The entire week before the current week
  • Past Week: The previous days within the current week (this past week), or the previous 7 days (in the past week)
  • Previous Week: To me, this can be used either way. Avoid this one to not confuse users

We address this problem by saying that "past/last/previous" (units) are always at the last complete entry (and these terms are all synonymous), while the "current" (unit) is the incomplete entry in which we find ourselves. This consistency takes a small bit of practice, but eliminates ambiguity.

Right now let's pretend it's 12:32:40 PST. - The "current hour" is the one that began 32 minutes ago (incomplete). - The "past hour" ran from 11:00:00 - 11:59:59 (complete). - The "current minute" is the one that began 40 seconds ago (incomplete). - The "past 60 minutes" ran from 11:32:00 - 12:31:59 (complete).

So you see that when you need greater fidelity, you increase the resolution of the units.

Weeks always start on the same day, and days always start on the same hour, but whether this is Monday 00:00:00 UTC or Sunday 00:00:00 PST would depend on the organization.

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