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By the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years.

Of course, the "most" correct way of writing this would be:

By the end of the year, I will have attended this school for five years.

...but I was just wondering.

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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The two sentences mean slightly different things. In the first case, it is understood that you don't intend to continue attending school.

If I did not have to leave, I would have attended school for 5 years at the end of the year.

In the second case, you express the belief or the confidence that you will still be in school at the end of the year.

Since I'm staying, I will have attended school for 5 years at the end of the year.

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Yeah, I get the difference, but is the first sentence that I've posted correct ? –  aviraldg Feb 7 '11 at 14:41
4  
@Aviral: it is correct if you intended the meaning outlined; if you intended the second meaning, the first is incorrect. –  Jonathan Leffler Feb 7 '11 at 14:43
    
@Aviral Dasgupta: The context is what will decide which one is correct. Both could be correct, and they mean what reported by JSBangs. –  kiamlaluno Feb 7 '11 at 15:38
    
Okay, thanks a lot. –  aviraldg Feb 7 '11 at 16:04
    
@JSBⰀⰐⰃⰔ- You don't or you didn't intend to continue attending school. I believe the 'would have' part makes it a past conditional not a a hypothetical present or future. –  Noah Apr 11 '12 at 10:04
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The first sentence is an acceptable English sentence, but as the previous answerer states, it is appropriate in different circumstances (i.e., the two sentences differ in meaning). In addition to being acceptable if your intent is to not finish school, the first sentence is acceptable if you in fact have already quit the particular school that's being talked about:

  • If I hadn't dropped out, then by the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years.

In fact, the first sentence is acceptable even if you had never attended that school in the first place (though it seems necessary to have considered the option of attending):

  • Had I not taken that job, by the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years.

Hope this helps.

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