(11:30 a.m. CET, 9:30 a.m. GMT,) at the earliest

peter199083

Senior Member
Mandarin
I am waiting for the announcement of this year's Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology and Medicine. The website shows the result will come out soon, saying

COMING UP
11:30 a.m. CET, 9:30 a.m. GMT, at the earliest


I am intrigued by 'at the earliest'. Central European Time in the summer runs two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which means that 11.30 am CET and 9.30 am GMT are concurrent. Why is there an 'at the earliest'? Even if this phrase conveys substantial meaning, is it not supposed to be 'at the earlier'? Thank you in advance.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    11.30am CET (= 9.30am GMT) is the earliest time at which it might be released. It could be released at 11.30am CET (9.30am GMT) or 11.31am CET (9.31am GMT) or 11.32am CET (9.32am GMT) and so on. There are many options, and 11.30am CET is the earliest​ option.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    It's always 'at the earliest' because of the number of possibilities. The sentence means it will not happen at 9:15 am GMT, though it might happen at 10:00 am GMT. 9:30 am is the earliest [speaking in terms of GMT].

    crossposted with nat.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    If those two times were different, we'd say 'whichever is earlier', not 'at the earlier' (though it would happen 'at the earlier time').

    And thank you for reminding me these were coming up. (Is it October already?) I always like to camp on the Nobel website waiting. :)
     

    peter199083

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you all for your assistance :) and congratulations to those on both sides of the pond (O'Keefe holds a dual citizenship):thumbsup:.

    To be precise: It's the Nobel Prize in Physiology OR Medicine, not "and."
    Thank you, Egmont, for pointing out my mistake. It was unprofessional for me to put it down without checking the prize name. The feeling is, however, journalists, if not non-science people, are not certain of such prepositions. A brief look at major UK-based media outlets shows,

    The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been awarded to three scientists who discovered the brain's "GPS system". (The BBC)
    We’ll be back tomorrow liveblogging the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Physics, which is expected at around 10.45am UK time. (The Guardian)
    Despite 'for', the uppercase letters in subjects are somewhat undecidedly confusing, which I believe is a matter of personal style, although my mistake of uniting two alternative subjects was wholly unforgivable.
     
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