will be home <by> six.


New Member
Topic sentence: My sister will be home by six.
Copied from title. Cagey, moderator

What does " by " six mean ? Is it the same as "before six" ? Or is there a slight difference?
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  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    She may arrive at any moment, up to and including six o'clock precisely.

    With the time in this case being so precise, there is little difference between by and before. But if the time were more vague (E.g. "My sister will be home by Friday/by Christmas/by August...") then the difference between before and by might be up to 24 hours or even more.