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I'm wondering if that's the correct usage of the 'get away with something' phrase:

I still can't believe how I got away with attending philosophy classes only 3 times through the year.

What I mean is I still can't believe I didn't get punished for skipping philosophy classes (I was present only 3 times during the year - I skipped the rest and I'm still amazed I didn't get punished for skipping so many of my classes), but instead of saying I still can't believe how I got away with skipping school so much I wish to say I still can't believe how I got away with attending school so little and I'm wondering if it's the correct usage and if it sounds natural.

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    Can you edit you question to make it a little easier to understand? – P. E. Dant Aug 16 '16 at 0:11
  • Done, I hope it's more clear now, excuse my mistakes. – Carol Aug 16 '16 at 0:34
  • You owe no apologies. We enjoy your questions, we enjoy answering them! If your two sentences were heard in natural speech among native speakers, you would seldom hear the "how:" I still can't believe I got away with attending school so little! or I still can't believe I got away with skipping school so much! – P. E. Dant Aug 16 '16 at 1:43
  • I'll just weigh in with @P.E.Dant but add that in my area (Toronto), it would be perfectly fine or better without "how", and the gloss you gave in your answer is correct. Note that it doesn't have to mean "I wasn't punished for X"; it could also mean "I managed to succeed despite X". – Luke Sawczak Jun 26 '17 at 4:36
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According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the verb believe is normally followed by a that- clause. The clause explains what you believe. According to this approach, the correct form would be:

I still can't believe that I got away with attending philosophy classes only 3 times through the year.

In informal speech, the that is omitted:

I still can't believe I got away with attending philosophy classes only 3 times through the year.

When you have a sentence where the clause expresses the degree or extent of something, it is normal to use how:

I still can't believe how stupid I was - adjective: degree of stupidity
I still can't believe how badly he reacted - adverb: degree of rudeness
I can't believe how many pairs of shoes she has - determiner: degree- count

This construction is sometimes used inappropriately when the that-clause is a simple fact, not a matter of degree, as in your sentence, where "I got away with..." is a simple fact:

I still can't believe how I got away with attending philosophy classes only 3 times through the year.

The use of how would be justified if you were to add easily, which would make it a matter of degree:

I still can't believe how easily I got away with attending philosophy classes only 3 times through the year.

This NGram, shows how very uncommon believe how is in writing, and if you look at the actual references you will find that most of them are not relevant- "I want to believe: how can I.." or express degree

I couldn't believe how much money I was making
I can't believe how blatantly Guy Ritchie ignored this in his film

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You use 'got away with' correctly here.

It does sound a little awkward (perhaps colloquial?) because you use how. I don't think you intend to communicate that you can't believe the manner in which you got away with things.

Using that instead of how is more precise and flows better. (Assuming that you do mean to point out the fact that you weren't punished, not your means of avoiding punishment.)

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