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The following is a sentence from the wikipedia page on Drexel Burnham Lambert's early history.

However, the company's ability to expand was limited by the structure of the investment banking industry of that time.

Why not at that time or during that time?

To be

of a time

is to be in step with the happenings, styles, morals, and zeitgeist at a particular point in time.

He was not of his time.
She was ahead of her time.

both mean the person was out of place during their life.

the investment banking industry of that time.

the investment banking industry at that time.
the investment banking industry during that time.

is there a difference in meaning?

1 Answer 1

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the company's ability to expand was limited by the structure of the investment banking industry of that time.

Of that time is by default understood to be an adjectival modifying the investment banking industry, implying fairly strongly that that industry is different now. If DBL later was able to expand, we would understand that this was due to a change in the industry.

At that time and during that time would by default be understood as temporal adjuncts, adverbials modifying the entire clause; it does not imply any subsequent change in the industry. If DBL later was able to expand, we would understand that this was due to a change in DBL itself.

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  • Apologies spelling error Drexel Burnham Lambert (DBL)
    – Peter
    Mar 10, 2016 at 0:19
  • @Peter I thought there was something wonky there! Mar 10, 2016 at 0:22

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