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I saw a price list that stated "Kinder bis 5 Jahre kostenfrei". Is the "bis" in that statement meant to include the year from 5 to 6 years, meaning they go for free until the day before they reach 6 years, or is it meant upto (but not including) 5 years?

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    The usual meaning of bis is inclusive, also the usual meaning of ab. – Janka May 17 '18 at 21:02
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    @Janka: That sounds like an Answer. Why don´t you make it one so we can up-vote? – Daniel May 17 '18 at 22:15
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    I don't think it's an answer, because there are no examples and no reasoning behind it. The question is too simple for that. – Janka May 18 '18 at 0:18
  • Related: „bis Sonntag“: is Sunday included or excluded? – IQV May 18 '18 at 6:36
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    I also agree, that it probably meanings including (not all people pay sufficient attention to precision here, so it is somewhat unreliable). Otherwise the typical statment would be Kinder unter 5 Jahren, which is clearly exclusive. – guidot May 18 '18 at 8:35
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The sentence Kinder bis 5 Jahren kostenfrei usually means what @Janka wrote, that is five year old children are the oldest who are free. Nevertheless this sentence is not precise enough in my opinion. To make sure that everyone understands the sentence exactly, one would have to write Kinder bis einschließlich 5 Jahre. Otherwise one will have to pay attention to context related price differentials, for example

Kinder bis 5 Jahren (kosten)frei - children that are 5 years old or younger

Kinder von 6 bis 12 3€ - children that are six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven or twelve years old

Jugendliche ab 13 Jahren 5€ - teenagers from 13 to the age of being regarded as adult

Erwachsene 10€ - adults (18 years old or older in Germany, may differ in other countries)

If you see something like that, then the numbers within one line will be inclusive. In case of just the sentence from the question, you might want to ask some person in charge.

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    Principally agree, but I would add one caveat: price information in public places is usually not written by linguists or professional writers. Authors may be unaware of what they are actually doing. So, unless the proposition is made explicit ("bis einschließlich 5 Jahren") you cannot be really sure. – Christian Geiselmann May 18 '18 at 8:27
  • Yes, that is the basic thing I wanted to point out in my answer. You cannot be sure unless the wording is kind of fail safe. – deHaar May 18 '18 at 8:38
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    Yes. Of course. For practical purposes, I would suppose that common practice is to understand "Kinder bis 5 Jahre frei" to be including those that are "5 years old" (i.e. have passed their 5th birthday, and are in their 6th year of living), because otherwise you would constantly have discussions such as: "How old is that child? - 5 years. - Then the ticket is 4 euros. - I thought 5 year olds are free? - No, it says "bis 5 Jahre", that means only those that are not yet 5 years old." - I think in order to avoid such confusion common practice would be to mention the last age that is included. – Christian Geiselmann May 18 '18 at 10:31
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Kinder bis 5 Jahre kostenlos

This includes children who are nominally five years old, even if their exact age is 5.996 years.

Kinder bis zur Vollendung des 5. Lebensjahres

The fifth year of living spans from the fourth birthday until one day before the fifth birthday, since Lebensjahr used 1-based counting. Your child of five and a half year does not get anything for free here.

This phrase is often found in the Beförderungsbedingungen des öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs, beautiful German words. :)

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