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I am not a native English speaker. I am an undergraduate student in ELT. This is my first year, and I confuse sometimes. So my question is this: "Review the beliefs of Victor, Sweet, and other reformers in the late nineteenth century presented on page 10. To what extent do these differ from your own? "

Why do we use "to" in here?

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To what extent do these differ from your own?

“to” here is a preposition. It’s a bit easier to understand if we rearrange the sentence into a statement question:

These differ from your own to what extent?

Or:

These differ to what extent from your own?

In both cases, it’s clear that the preposition is needed to link “what extent” to “differ”. Moving the PP to the beginning of the sentence (and inverting the subject and verb) doesn’t change that.

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Add 'to' to the question in addition to 'what extent' makes for a comparison. Therefore, you need to describe how different your/our generation's beliefs are from those that of Victor, Sweet and other reformers in the late nineteenth century. It is very common to use 'to' along side 'extent' to quantify terms or qualify a situation.

E.g: To what extent is he willing to go to protect her?

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  • Thank you for your help. It is very understandable.
    – mfc
    Oct 26, 2020 at 22:23

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