extend the deadline or postpone the deadline ?

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
I often see people say or write "extend the deadline until...", so I bet this is a correct expression.
But still I can't help but wonder.

The verb "extend" means "make a period last longer" such as "stay".
But the word "deadline" is a "point in time" rather than a "period".

In that case, how should "to extend the deadline" make sense ?
Don't you think "postpone" or "delay" is more appropriate ?

Please give me your opinions.
  • Tracer

    Senior Member
    American English
    You're right....."deadline" is a POINT IN time and not a PERIOD OF time.

    At the same time, you're right when you say you often see people use the phrase "extend the deadline". (I've used it myself).

    I would say that this can be explained by "assuming" that when you "extend a deadline", you're automatically extending the period of time involved.

    However, I suggest that the real reason this phrase is used so much even though it appears incorrect is that LANGUAGE OFTEN DOES NOT FOLLOW LOGIC.

    It's simply an expression that has gained widespread currency despite it's "irrationality". Languages are full of such instances.

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    We also say stupid things like "We have to get a move on, we need to move/postpone the deadline to next week." Not very helpfull of course.
    We need a new deadline. The deadline needs a specific date and time to be specified.

    Nevertheless, I would try to get away with postpone the deadline to a new date and time :--

    Postpone, "arrange for (something) to take place at a time later than that first scheduled."

    < Previous | Next >