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27.6 Relative items in date strings

Relative items adjust a date (or the current date if none) forward or backward. The effects of relative items accumulate. Here are some examples:

 
1 year
1 year ago
3 years
2 days

The unit of time displacement may be selected by the string `year' or `month' for moving by whole years or months. These are fuzzy units, as years and months are not all of equal duration. More precise units are `fortnight' which is worth 14 days, `week' worth 7 days, `day' worth 24 hours, `hour' worth 60 minutes, `minute' or `min' worth 60 seconds, and `second' or `sec' worth one second. An `s' suffix on these units is accepted and ignored.

The unit of time may be preceded by a multiplier, given as an optionally signed number. Unsigned numbers are taken as positively signed. No number at all implies 1 for a multiplier. Following a relative item by the string `ago' is equivalent to preceding the unit by a multiplier with value -1.

The string `tomorrow' is worth one day in the future (equivalent to `day'), the string `yesterday' is worth one day in the past (equivalent to `day ago').

The strings `now' or `today' are relative items corresponding to zero-valued time displacement, these strings come from the fact a zero-valued time displacement represents the current time when not otherwise changed by previous items. They may be used to stress other items, like in `12:00 today'. The string `this' also has the meaning of a zero-valued time displacement, but is preferred in date strings like `this thursday'.

When a relative item causes the resulting date to cross a boundary where the clocks were adjusted, typically for daylight-saving time, the resulting date and time are adjusted accordingly.


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