9 Best Words for "Estimated Time of Completion" (ETA) (2024)

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.

9 Best Words for "Estimated Time of Completion" (ETA) (1)

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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.

9 Best Words for "Estimated Time of Completion" (ETA) (2)

Martin Lassen

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.

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9 Best Words for "Estimated Time of Completion" (ETA) (2024)


How do you say estimated time of completion? ›

“Estimated time of completion,” or ETC, is the expected date when you can anticipate your project will be finished. In the business world, timelines are more than just dates – they help you keep track of tasks, decide who's responsible for each task, and manage your resources.

What is ETA expected time of completion? ›

In the project management landscape, ETA, an acronym for Estimated Time of Arrival, represents the anticipated duration for a particular task or project completion. However, it's more than a simple time forecast. It's a calculated prediction involving various project elements, based on both data and experience.

What is ETA estimated time to complete? ›

The estimated time of arrival (ETA) is the time when a ship, vehicle, aircraft, cargo, person, or emergency service is expected to arrive at a certain place.

What is another word for estimated time of completion? ›

What is ETC? Estimated Time of Completion is the time estimated for the activities relating to loading or unloading of goods to be completed. ETC is also called closing.

How do you say ETA professionally? ›

Please send me the report ASAP. ETA: Expected time of arrival.

How to ask estimated time of completion? ›

Could you, please, estimate how long it takes you to finish this?” or “If I only had time!”

What is the estimate time ETA? ›

What is Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)? Estimated time of arrival (ETA) literally means estimated time of arrival. ETA is therefore an indication of the time that a vehicle is expected at its destination.

How to calculate estimated time of completion? ›

Expected Completion Time = (Optimistic Estimate + 4 x Most Likely Estimate + Pessimistic Estimate) / 6. For example, let's say you're working on a legal project that involves drafting a contract. Your optimistic estimate is two days, your pessimistic estimate is ten days, and your most likely estimate is five days.

How to use ETA in a sentence? ›

abbreviation for estimated time of arrival: the time you expect to arrive: I'll call you when my flight lands and give you an ETA.

What to use instead of ETA? ›

The ETA and ETD, in this case, are essentially the same; what private consumers want to know is when they'll have their purchase in hand.

What are the other terms for ETA? ›

ETA, ETD, ATD, and ATA are commonly used terms in freight shipping that refer to the estimated time of arrival, estimated time of departure, actual time of departure, and actual time of arrival, respectively.

What is the shortcut for estimated time? ›

ETA | Business English

abbreviation for estimated time of arrival: the time you expect to arrive: I'll call you when my flight lands and give you an ETA.

What is the difference between ETA and ETD? ›

What is ETA and ETD in shipping? Estimated time of arrival (ETA) in shipping is the estimated time the the ship will arrive at anchorage (waiting outside the port) or at dock. Estimated time of departure (ETD) is when the ship is estimated to leave the dock.

What is the estimation of time of completion? ›

Estimated time to complete is a value that is expressed in hours of work required to complete a task or project. During the initial stages of project planning one of the main objectives is to get a realistic estimation of time to complete.

What is the meaning of ETA and ETR? ›

ETA, ETC, ETD, ETR, ETS: Estimated Time of arrival, completion, departure, readiness or sailing.

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