I have read a sentence on cambridge dictionary while studying the preposition


'Within hours of the tragedy happening, an emergency rescue team had been


Does it mean during the tragedy or in the hours after the tragedy?

1 Answer 1


"Within <duration> of" means in the time that followed as indicated by the duration.

In the same way that you could use "within <distance> of" to mean "in radial vicinity of", you can say "within <duration> of" to specify an interval of time following an event.

It is usually used to convey a sense of urgency (rather than a precise time), as you probably wouldn't tell your boss that the meeting will be within the hour but that it will be in 30 minutes from now.

  • Thanks for your explanation , it is very helpful. But I have an other example sentence and it is very confusing to me, it would be so helpful if you help me understand the structure. ''We came within five points of beating them'' explanation of the sentence: We would have beaten them if we had had five more points
    – ullas84
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:12
  • @ullas84 This means literally if you add five points to our score, we would have won. Does this mean the difference in final score is 4 points (with last point for the win)? Not necessarily, but it's heavily implied.
    – Neil
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:17
  • so confusing to me , İ dont understand the structure of the last sentence
    – ullas84
    Feb 12, 2018 at 18:11

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