I have some silly questions on the word 'extent'. Usually I know that 'extent' means some range of something.

While looking up the dictionary (Collins), I found some extend phrases I cannot get their meanings.

These are the phrases.


to what/that extent/the extent that(etc)


You use expressions such as to what extent, to that extent, or to the extent that when you are discussing how true a statement is, or in what ways it is true.


  1. It's still not clear to what extent this criticism is originating from within the ruling party.
  2. To that extent they helped bring about their own destruction.
  3. He could only be sorry to the extent that this affected his grandchildren.
  4. The extent to which it helped to promote Britain's broader strategic interests was sometimes questionable.
  5. We may not be able to do it to the extent that we would like.

I could understand that examples 1, 4, 5 are realted to the possibilies of the statements, but I am not sure what the other examples are about.

1 Answer 1


(2) They helped bring about their own destruction in 'that' way, but not in any other way (whatever 'that' refers to).

(3) He regretted what had happened because it harmed his grandchildren, but he didn't regret anything else about it.

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