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Definition:

In Allen's interval algebra between a and b there are seven possible relations. All but one has a converse. The exception is the situation where two intervals are coextensive. Then the relation and it converse are the same: equal.

So altogether there are 13 possible relations. Together they are distinct, exhaustive, and qualitative:

**distinct**because no pair of definite intervals can be related by more than one of the relationships**exhaustive**because any pair of definite intervals are described by one of the relations**qualitative**(rather than quantitative) because no numeric time spans are considered

Explanatory Notes:

Here are the relations in Allen's interval algebra:

*a* precedes *b* (p) and *b* is preceded by *a* (P)*a* meets *b* (m) and *b* is met by *a* (M)*a* overlaps *b* (o) and *b* is overlapped by *a* (O)*a* is finished by *b* (F) and *b* finishes *a* (f)*a* contains B (D) and *b* is during *a* (d)*a* starts *b* (s) and *b* is started by *a* (S)*a* and *b* equal (e) each other

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