0

There have been already two questions asked about "for that matter":

  1. “for that matter”
  2. The exact meaning of “for that matter”

I read them carefully and the following dictionary entries:

The meaning explanations seem to contradict.

One group of explanations point out that "for that matter" is used to introduce a generalization or extension:

He doesn’t like young women, or any women for that matter.
Ming's never been to Spain, or to any European country for that matter.
He didn't eat the cucumbers, or any food at all for that matter.
I didn't complain about the food. I have nothing but praise for the staff for their service, for that matter.

Whereas the other group of explanations just say "used to indicate that a subject, though mentioned second, is as relevant as the first":

I am not sure what value it adds to determining public, or for that matter private, policy.
I don't like bread and rice, or porridge for that matter.

So, is "for that matter" not only for generalization purposes but to add any kind of information to a statement? Even for correction of something what has been said (as "public policy" vs. "private policy" in one of the examples above)?

1

or for that matter typically introduces, or punctuates, a thought in the same domain as the previous thought but much broader than it in its scope.

The progression of thought in the utterance can be from specific instance to the overarching class, expressed in terms of the most minimal requirement to belong to the class.

I never thought of him as a Platonist, or for that matter as having ever had a philosophical thought in his head.

I never thought of him as a Platonist, or as having ever had a philosophical thought in his head, for that matter.

or from some particular to another particular which by metonymy stands for the class:

He would never sell narcotics to children, or for that matter do so much as return a library book late.

He would never sell narcotics to children, or do so much as return a library book late, for that matter.

There, "return a library book late", a very minor thing in comparison to "selling narcotics to children", is a representative of the broad class "infractions".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.