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Does anyone know if there is any reason why a sentence like:

"By 2020 I will have been working in London for 5 years."

Might be considered incorrect? I realise in everyday life this sentence would "pass". What I want to know, however, is whether there is any ground whatsoever to consider it incorrect under the strict standards that might be applied to formal or academic writing. Particularly in regard to the preposition "by".

I know that this usage of "by" is common with the future perfect "By 2020 I will have worked in London for...", but I find the future perfect continuous to be compatible with other prepositions (and even the absence of prepositions) e.g

"Next year I will have been working in London for 5 years."

"At 11pm I will have been working for 6 hours."

"In 2020 I will have been working in London for 5 years."

Is there any grammar rule that might prohibit this usage of "by" with the future perfect continuous?

I'm inclined to think not, as the sentence sounds fine to me, but I'd be interested to read the opinions of others on the matter.

  • I see nothing whatever wrong with it. – WS2 Nov 30 '16 at 23:16
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"By 2020 I will have been working in London for 5 years." is not incorrect, I would only add a comma after "by 2020" or place it at the end of the sentence, as it's an adverbial of time.

  • Sentential adverbials are frequently only set off by commas if they're longer than half a dozen or so words (nice, loose rule of thumb that's essentially elastic enough to mean just about anything you want it to). Certainly a lot of people would not use a comma after by 2020 (in the same way that I didn't use one after certainly in this sentence). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 30 '16 at 20:59

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