The following is taken from Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. What does "the person gaining formal qualifications" stand in opposition to? Is the definition considered clear by the standards of educated American English?

the university of life

(informal) the experience of life thought of as giving somebody an education, instead of the person gaining formal qualifications


"The person gaining formal qualifications" stands compared to the person who did not gain formal qualifications, and instead gained practical life experience.

  • But that relation is not neatly expressed. – Apollyon May 21 '19 at 11:17
  • A instead B, where A and B belong to the same category. – Apollyon May 21 '19 at 11:17

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