To the extent that

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To the extent that

Postby caat » Fri, 31 Jul 2009 11:02:17 -0500

I can't find the meaning of to the extent that in any dictionary.

Here are two example sentences:

To the extent that Chrysler, GM, and Ford are successful at charging higher prices, foreign competitors can be counted on to follow suit.

To the extent that my choice of words didn't illuminate but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.

After reading them, I still can't figure out what it means in the context.
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Re: To the extent that

Postby Deborah the ESL Tutor » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 04:54:41 -0500

Hi Caat,

This is a tricky one to explain. “To the extent that” makes a statement to the degree or level of something and compares it to the degree of level of something else. It means the resulting level of action is directly proportional to the level of the original action.

In the first sentence the speaker’s saying “to the extent that they are successful”, means that if they are highly successful in charging higher prices, competitors will charge higher prices as well. In the second sentence the speaker is again equating the level of his contribution to the frenzy with how much he thinks it is unfortunate.

Use of this phrase in these contexts can be confusing. A simpler way to say each sentence would be:

How successful GM, Chrysler and Ford are at charging higher prices will determine if their foreign competitors follow suit.

I thought my choice of words would be illuminating. However, if they contributed greatly to the media frenzy, I think that is equally unfortunate.

I hope this is helpful.
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