Relative Formats

This page describes the different relative date/time formats that the strtotime(), DateTime and date_create() parser understands.

Used Symbols
Description Format
dayname 'sunday' | 'monday' | 'tuesday' | 'wednesday' | 'thursday' | 'friday' | 'saturday' | 'sun' | 'mon' | 'tue' | 'wed' | 'thu' | 'fri' | 'sat' | 'sun'
daytext 'weekday' | 'weekdays'
number [+-]?[0-9]+
ordinal 'first' | 'second' | 'third' | 'fourth' | 'fifth' | 'sixth' | 'seventh' | 'eighth' | 'ninth' | 'tenth' | 'eleventh' | 'twelfth' | 'next' | 'last' | 'previous' | 'this'
reltext 'next' | 'last' | 'previous' | 'this'
space [ \t]+
unit (('sec' | 'second' | 'min' | 'minute' | 'hour' | 'day' | 'fortnight' | 'forthnight' | 'month' | 'year') 's'?) | 'weeks' | daytext
Day-based Notations
Format Description Examples
'yesterday' Midnight of yesterday "yesterday 14:00"
'midnight' The time is set to 00:00:00  
'today' The time is set to 00:00:00  
'now' Now - this is simply ignored  
'noon' The time is set to 12:00:00 "yesterday noon"
'tomorrow' Midnight of tomorrow  
'back of' hour 15 minutes past the specified hour "back of 7pm", "back of 15"
'front of' hour 15 minutes before the specified hour "front of 5am", "front of 23"
'first day of' Sets the day of the first of the current month. This phrase is best used together with a month name following it. "first day of January 2008"
'last day of' Sets the day to the last day of the current month. This phrase is best used together with a month name following it. "last day of next month"
ordinal space dayname space 'of' Calculates the x-th week day of the current month. "first sat of July 2008"
'last' space dayname space 'of' Calculates the last week day of the current month. "last sat of July 2008"
number space? (unit | 'week') Handles relative time items where the value is a number. "+5 weeks", "12 day", "-7 weekdays"
ordinal space unit Handles relative time items where the value is text. "fifth day", "second month"
'ago' Negates all the values of previously found relative time items. "2 days ago", "8 days ago 14:00", "2 months 5 days ago", "2 months ago 5 days", "2 days ago"
dayname Moves to the next day of this name. "Monday"
reltext space 'week' Handles the special format "weekday + last/this/next week". "Monday next week"

Nota:

Relative statements are always processed after non-relative statements. This makes "+1 week july 2008" and "july 2008 +1 week" equivalent.

Exceptions to this rule are: "yesterday", "midnight", "today", "noon" and "tomorrow". Note that "tomorrow 11:00" and "11:00 tomorrow" are different. Considering today's date of "July 23rd, 2008" the first one produces "2008-07-24 11:00" where as the second one produces "2008-07-24 00:00". The reason for this is that those five statements directly influence the current time.

Nota:

Observe the following remarks when the current day-of-week is the same as the day-of-week used in the date/time string. The current day-of-week could have been (re-)calculated by non-relative parts of the date/time string however.

  1. "dayname" does not advance to another day. (Example: "Wed July 23rd, 2008" means "2008-07-23").
  2. "number dayname" does not advance to another day. (Example: "1 wednesday july 23rd, 2008" means "2008-07-23").
  3. "number week dayname" will first add the number of weeks, but does not advance to another day. In this case "number week" and "dayname" are two distinct blocks. (Example: "+1 week wednesday july 23rd, 2008" means "2008-07-30").
  4. "ordinal dayname" does advance to another day. (Example "first wednesday july 23rd, 2008" means "2008-07-30").
  5. "number week ordinal dayname" will first add the number of weeks, and then advances to another day. In this case "number week" and "ordinal dayname" are two distinct blocks. (Example: "+1 week first wednesday july 23rd, 2008" means "2008-08-06").
  6. "ordinal dayname 'of' " does not advance to another day. (Example: "first wednesday of july 23rd, 2008" means "2008-07-02" because the specific phrase with 'of' resets the day-of-month to '1' and the '23rd' is ignored here).

Also observe that the "of" in "ordinal space dayname space 'of' " and "'last' space dayname space 'of' " does something special.

  1. It sets the day-of-month to 1.
  2. "ordinal dayname 'of' " does not advance to another day. (Example: "first tuesday of july 2008" means "2008-07-01").
  3. "ordinal dayname " does advance to another day. (Example: "first tuesday july 2008" means "2008-07-08", see also point 4 in the list above).
  4. "'last' dayname 'of' " takes the last dayname of the current month. (Example: "last wed of july 2008" means "2008-07-30")
  5. "'last' dayname" takes the last dayname from the current day. (Example: "last wed july 2008" means "2008-06-25"; "july 2008" first sets the current date to "2008-07-01" and then "last wed" moves to the previous Wednesday which is "2008-06-25").

Nota:

Relative month values are calculated based on the length of months that they pass through. An example would be "+2 month 2011-11-30", which would produce "2012-01-30". This is due to November being 30 days in length, and December being 31 days in length, producing a total of 61 days.

Log delle modifiche

Versione Descrizione
5.3.3 "first day" and "last day" changed to behave has "+1 day" and "-1 day", respectively. Previously, the behaviour was as "first day of" and "last day of".

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User Contributed Notes 7 notes

up
9
oguzkonya34 at gmail dot com
2 years ago
April 1st, 2012 is Sunday. You might expect to get April 2nd, 2012 with 'Monday next week', however this:

<?php
   
echo date('F jS, Y', strtotime('Monday next week 2012-04-01'));
?>

returns April 9th, 2012. To get April 2nd, you need to use this:

<?php
   
echo date('F jS, Y', strtotime('next Monday 2012-04-01'));
?>

Apparently 'next week' advances the week if and only if the day is Sunday. This:

<?php
   
echo date('F jS, Y', strtotime('Monday next week 2012-03-31'));
?>

would still return April 2nd.
up
4
chris at burnhamup dot com
1 year ago
Using strtotime('DAYNAME') like strtotime('Tuesday') returns midnight on the specified day. It doesn't preserve the current time or the time passed into the function.
up
1
shkkmo at gmail dot com
1 year ago
Here is a fairly simple function I wrote to avoid the issues with adding/subtracting months that has been mentioned by cristinawithout and many others.

I needed this function to be able handle monthly billing cycles properly. It handles positive and negative values for months. It also can be used to side step a similar issues for adding years on leap days (e.g. strtotime('2012/2/29 +1 year') by passing in multiples of 12 (e.g. addMonthsToTime(12, strtotime('2012/2/29'))

<?
function addMonthsToTime($numMonths = 1, $timeStamp = null){
   
$timeStamp === null and $timeStamp = time();//Default to the present
   
$newMonthNumDays date('d',strtotime('last day of '.$numMonths.' months', $timeStamp));//Number of days in the new month
   
$currentDayOfMonth = date('d',$timeStamp);
    if(
$currentDayOfMonth > $newMonthNumDays){
     
$newTimeStamp = strtotime('-'.($currentDayOfMonth - $newMonthNumDays).' days '.$numMonths.' months', $timeStamp);
    } else {
     
$newTimeStamp = strtotime($numMonths.' months', $timeStamp);
    }
    return
$newTimeStamp;
  }
?>
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2
erwin at darcoury dot nl
3 years ago
In PHP 5.2, "first monday of may 2011" is invalid, but "first monday may 2011" does work. Simply omit "of" if above examples do not work.
up
2
geneticdrift
3 years ago
Month skipping has issues with number of days in the month.

'+1 month' may move to the following month if the next month has less days than the current:

<?php print date('d M Y H:i:s', strtotime('+1 month', strtotime('Thu Mar 31 19:50:41 IST 2011'))); ?>
Prints: 01 May 2011 19:50:41

But with 'last day of +1 month' the result is different:

<?php print date('d M Y H:i:s', strtotime('last day of +1 month', strtotime('Thu Mar 31 19:50:41 IST 2011'))); ?>
Prints: 30 Apr 2011 19:50:41

(PHP 5.3.3)
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1
matt
3 years ago
If the ordinal being used is "last" and the next month is n, use the "n 1". Otherwise, if the previous month is p and it has d number of days in it, use "p d".

For example: "last thursday of November" becomes "last thursday December 1" and "fourth thursday of November" becomes "fourth thursday September 30th"

Hopes this helps someone out there.
up
1
scragar at gmail dot com
2 years ago
Just for those who want the last day of the year without calling the function twice:

<?php
echo date('Y-m-d',
   
strToTime('1/1 next year -1 day')
);
//   2011-12-31
?>

For reference this is actually saying "Take the first day of the first month next year, then subtract 1 day".
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