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Do both mean 'after'? I once heard that 'nach' has a specific start point while 'in' doesn't, but I don't really understand what that really means.

I came across this example :

Ich plane, mein Buch bis in zwei Monaten zu beenden

If I was writing this sentence, I would have never included 'bis'

Secondly, whenever I read it, I immediately translate 'in' to 'within' 2 months, not after 2 months I am really confused regarding the difference between those prepositions ( nach vs in ) and the reason 'bis' was added

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Ich plane, mein Buch in zwei Monaten zu beenden.

I plan to finish my book within two months.

I plan to finish my book in two months from now.

In conveys both the time frame and the moment in time option.

Ich plane, mein Buch bis in zwei Monaten zu beenden.

I plan to finish my book in two months from now.

This bis in makes it clear zwei Monate isn't a time frame but a moment in time counted from now.

Ich plane, mein Buch innerhalb zweier Monate zu beenden.

I plan to finish my book within two months.

Using innerhalb + Genitiv makes it clear it's a time frame.

Ich plane, mein Buch nach zwei Monaten zu beenden.

I plan to finish my book after two months.

All these are valid. The difference between in and nach is very subtle. In this case, using nach makes the listener think you are focusing on the limit. Two months, I don't put more effort into it.

This is because nach implies thinking about what happens after.

In zwei Monaten ist alles vorbei. (thinking from the start)

Nach zwei Monaten ist alles vorbei. (thinking from the end)

  • "Two months, I don't put more effort into it. " Sorry but I didn't get what you meant with this sentence – Yomna Essam Aug 16 '18 at 22:29
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    If you use nach, you make the listener think from the end. He gets the impression you have already made plans for the time after working on your book. – Janka Aug 16 '18 at 22:30
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    If you have a time span as zwei Monate, you can either think it from now: (bis) in zwei Monaten, or you can think it backwards from the end of the span nach zwei Monaten. Bei using (bis) in or nach, you tell the pinpoint in time to stick the timeframe to. – Janka Aug 17 '18 at 9:26
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    Bis in only implies the time frame starts now. Not neccesarily the reading, but yes, as it is open-end, he may add some extra time. Future is uncertain. With nach however, it implies the timeframe of reading ends in two month, may he had finished the book or not. – Janka Aug 17 '18 at 11:40
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    Oh, and ein Buch beenden usually means to finish writing a book, not reading it. If you read a book, you would usually say Ich plane, mit dem Buch in zwei Monaten durch zu sein. – Janka Aug 17 '18 at 11:45

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