(NYTimes article)

American officials said Tuesday that half of the slots that would have gone to Russian students during the next academic year would instead be allocated to Ukrainians.

Why is it 'would have gone'? As I understand, the situation is not in the past, the next academic year has not begun. So it should be 'would go'.

2 Answers 2


"... when the situation is not in the past"

The situation referred to here was in the past. Before the present, through Monday, it was expected that a certain number of slots would go to Russian students; but in the present, on Tuesday, this expectation no longer obtains. Consequently would have gone is employed on Tuesday and afterwards to mark the prior expectation as a past counterfactual.


There are two events referred to in the above statement, one of which is the next academic year (the future) and the other is the assigning of the slots that is over (the past). The American officials' statement came sometime between the two events. It's the slots for which the American officials used the phrase "would have gone" instead of "would go" because the assigning of the slots was an event in the past.

In fact, my answer is an echo of what StoneyB, our learned teacher, has said. But as I had already formed the answer in my mind, it was after great hesitation that I dared post it.

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