Would it make sense for me to say>

  1. In the context of me failing,you ought to take me out of advanced classes?
  2. The decision was made within the context of saving lives.

Whenever I look at these phrases, they confuse me and particularly when I see them in books.

I interpret the first sentence like this:

In the situation in which I fail,you should take me out of advanced classes.

I interpret the second one like this:

The decision was made within the fact that lives had to be saved.

When I should use the phrase "In the context of" and the "within context of" and make sure I don't use them incorrectly? I am confused by the definition itself, "the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed."

I just don't see how the definition and the idioms have any sort of connection.


1 Answer 1


Your interpreted sentences convey very nearly the same sense as the original sentences which use the word context. You appear to understand the definition of the word. However, there is nothing idiomatic in these usages. They are straightforward uses of a simple English noun.

What if you were to substitute the definition, word for word, in place of context of in your sentences?

In the circumstances that form the setting for me failing, you ought to take me out of advanced classes?

This is clear and meaningful.

Your second sentence can be treated similarly:

The decision was made within the circumstances that form the setting for saving lives.

This should demonstrate that your dictionary is to be trusted!

NOTE: I have corrected the punctuation in your first example. In English, a space comes after, and never before, a comma. This will be very important going forward: nothing more unmistakably marks a writer as a non-native speaker than misuse of punctuation!

  • I think these sentence are worse than non-idiomatic the meaning is unclear. I think the author intends "considering the fact that I have failed (elementary classes) you should take me out of the advanced classes. Your substitution seems to result in saying "Considering that circumstances that lead me to fail ..." Not quite the same thing.
    – djna
    Aug 25, 2016 at 13:38
  • Certainly, the sentences with the definition in place of the word context are inelegant, but the meanings of the sentences are the same. We don't know what the context is; there are innumerable possibilities. The point here is that the definition can be trusted. Aug 25, 2016 at 16:11

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