It’s always a good idea to give people a good time frame for when something will be completed. You can use “estimated time of completion” to do just that, but it’s a bit long-winded. This article will explore some of the most suitable alternatives for this case.
The preferred words are “ETA,” “duration,” and “time frame.” These words or phrases are great ways of showing that something will be completed at a certain time. It is only ever “estimated,” though, so it is liable to change depending on certain situations.
“ETA” is a great acronym that relates to the estimated time of completion. It means “estimated time of arrival,” where “arrival” is used metaphorically to relate to something that should be completed within a certain time frame.
“Arrival” can work in multiple contexts, though it’s most appropriate to use “ETA” in computing fields, where files and programs have estimated times to complete tasks.
- Do you have an ETA on this yet? I need to know when it’s going to be completed; otherwise, I won’t know when to proceed.
- What’s the ETA, Jack? Do you have any news on when we might be able to move to the next phase of this project?
- I need to know what the ETA is. Can you find one of the IT guys to let me know what else we might be waiting on here?
“Duration” gives you an idea of how long something will take. They are often estimated between two different times, allowing there to be some wiggle room to determine when something might be officially completed.
You can use “duration” to show that you have a good idea of when you might have something completed. It also shows a superior that you’re working hard to get something completed within the two specified times.
- The duration should be between twenty and thirty minutes. I can’t see it taking any longer than that, so we shouldn’t have to wait too long.
- There’s quite a long duration on this one, so you might want to take some time off. You’ll be waiting for ages if you don’t!
- I don’t understand the duration they’ve listed here. Surely it can’t be completed that quickly! Doesn’t more time need to be put into it?
“Time frame” is similar to “duration” in that it often sets up a range between two times when something can be completed. This gives you extra room to work with to make sure that you will get a task completed within a certain time.
- What’s the time frame right now? I need to know. The boss wants me to pass it to him, so he knows when to expect it all.
- Have you gathered enough information to find out the exact time frame? We don’t have a lot of wiggle room here, so we need it to be quick.
- Hold on, what did you say the time frame was again? I don’t think that’s going to work at all!
“Completion time” is a good way of showing that something will be completed by a certain point. It’s a very confident phrase, so you need to make sure that you can be certain that it’s achievable.
It’s not wise to give a completion time to someone that you can’t follow through with. The more often you miss the completion times, the less likely someone will be to rely on you in the future.
- This is quite a hefty completion time! I didn’t realize the project was going to take this long on your own. Do you need extra help?
- The completion time could do with fine-tuning. I don’t mind an estimate, but I don’t like the three-hour disparity between your numbers.
- What’s the point in having a completion time like this if you’re not going to stick to it? I’m really disappointed in you right now!
“End time” is a confident phrase like “completion time.” It’s a good way of showing that something will come to an “end” at a specific moment. Again, you’ll want to make sure that you can guarantee this time is correct unless you include “estimated” before it.
- I’ve seen that the end time will be in a few days, and I’m happy to wait for it. Just make sure you keep me updated with everything here.
- I want to know the specific end time. I can’t be dealing with estimates right now. They’re causing too much trouble on the back-end.
- What’s the end time you’ve got in mind? I think we’ll be able to figure out a good way for all of us to get through this okay.
“Target time” is a good one because it refers to an estimate. A “target” isn’t always set in stone, and it’s possible for you to move it around it you need to accommodate certain changes to a deadline or structure.
It’s not as confident as “completion time” or “end time.” It works well because it gives you a “target,” but it doesn’t always require you to hit it.
Ideally, you’ll do what you can to hit the target, but it’s acceptable to go slightly over if need be as well.
- The target time isn’t ideal, but it’s the least we can do right now. I’m sorry it’s not quicker! We’ll put everyone on this task!
- I think the target time is a bit skewed. Is there no way that you can speed all of this up? We have to get it done on time.
- It’s not the best target time, but it’s going to have to do. If we hurry it up anymore, we’re going to lose a lot of quality work!
“ETC” is another good acronym for this situation. “ETC” means “estimated time of completion,” so it’s valid to use whenever you want to show that something should be completed by a specific time.
It’s not as common as ETA, so it’s probably best that you don’t use it often. The most common place for it to come up is in the military. Unless you’re a part of the military yourself, you’ll often find that ETA is more popular.
- I’ve received an ETC of five hours on this one. Do you think that’s going to be enough time to get everything together?
- What’s the ETC we’re looking at here? Is it going to be within the next three hours or not? That’s about all we can cope with.
- I want to find out the ETC. Contact Michael to find out what time he’s going to be able to upload this. We need it in writing ASAP.
“Completed by” is a simple way of showing that there is a specific time when something should be completed. “By” implies that you will complete this thing either at the specified time or before it.
If you go over the deadline specified, you missed the point of “by.” Naturally, this could put you in your boss’s bad books, so be careful with the times you set here!
- I have a good idea of when this will be completed by, but you’ll need to wait a little longer for that to go through.
- It’s not going to be completed by the original time we stated. We’re really sorry if that’s going to cause any issues on your end.
- When do you reckon this will be completed by? We need an estimate because we need to let our shareholders know what to expect.
“Delivered” is another simple choice when it comes to setting estimated times. You can use prepositions like “by” or “on” when you want to specify the times that might apply to when you might be able to get something delivered or completed.
- The project will be delivered within the next twenty-four hours. I appreciate how patient you’ve been so far. It won’t be long now.
- I’m not sure when they’ll have this delivered. They haven’t given me an exact time for it yet, but I’ll keep trying!
- You’re not going to get this delivered in time, are you? I asked you to have it done and on my desk by the end of today!
Is It Acceptable to Use ETA for “Estimated Time of Completion”?
“ETA” is acceptable to use in place of “estimated time of completion.” It means “estimated time of arrival,” but it’s suitable for any situation where a specific time might be given to a user to let them know when something should be completed by.
ETA means “estimated time of arrival.” “Arrival” doesn’t always have to refer to destinations or travel. It can depend on the context, and it is a very versatile word.
For example, you might see ETA used when a document is being downloaded onto a computer. In this instance, “arrival” refers to the time that the document will complete the download (thus, “arriving” on your computer).
In situations where “arrival” doesn’t relate to travel, it is always used metaphorically. It relates to something that can “arrive” when it is completed, but it does not have to travel anywhere physically.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.