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  1. #1
    Mansfield is offline Newbie
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    Default In a matter of months or years

    I'm reading an NYTimes's article and I don't understand this expression :

    In a matter of months or years, the entire effort has come undone [...]

    Could somebody help me ?

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: In a matter of months or years

    It's roughly: In only a few months or years...
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    Mansfield is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: In a matter of months or years

    Ok, Thanks you

  4. #4
    Skeptik is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: In a matter of months or years

    (Not a teacher, just curious)

    After thinking about this, using matter in this way is very abstract and contextual.

    The best definition I can think of is "The substance of a situation", but this does not imply how important the situation is. It can be important or trivial.

    Small matters
    Big matters
    Political matters
    "What's the matter?" (What is the problem?)
    Matters of the heart

    The difficulty of overcoming a situation or the challenge (or a lack of challenge) "It is simply a matter of doing these things."

    In this example, "In a matter of months", it implies that passage or time was insignificant or unimportant, no challenge. Without context, to an outsider, how does one know the significance of the situation? Maybe it was a big matter.


    The worst is "Matter of fact". This phrase makes little sense to me when I try to analyze it. I typically translate it to mean "serious", but now I'm not so sure.

  5. #5
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    catbert is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: In a matter of months or years

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptik View Post
    In this example, "In a matter of months", it implies that passage or time was insignificant or unimportant, no challenge. Without context, to an outsider, how does one know the significance of the situation? Maybe it was a big matter.

    The worst is "Matter of fact". This phrase makes little sense to me when I try to analyze it. I typically translate it to mean "serious", but now I'm not so sure.
    You are way overthinking it. It's just a figure of speech. All "matter of fact" means is "actually". As an adjective "matter-of-fact" means unemotional, dispassionate.

    "In a matter of days/ months/ whatever" means it took that little time for the situation to unravel.

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