A matter of course


Senior Member
Catalan & Spanish

In the following, I read "course" as "custom" or "usage": am I right? Is this a common use of the word "course"? Thank you very much in advance :)

"You know I can stand any amount of smoking, but those who cannot should certainly keep out of Spain, for you will never be asked if you like it or not ; it is so much a matter of course, that a Spaniard lights his cigar just as composedly as an Englishman would open his newspaper".

Lady La Corte, British traveller from the 19th cent.
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hi TPC,

    "A matter of course" is a set phrase in English. It means that something comes so naturally that it is done without a conscious decision.


    Senior Member
    Hi PobleSec,

    Yes, this is a very common usage. In fact "matter of course" is a standard phrase in English. Merriam Webster defines it as: something that is to be expected as a natural or logical consequence.

    So, it's not so much about tradition or custom, but rather logic (in your text, it is logical or natural within the reality of Spain). Here's a few examples for you to get the gist (and if you google the phrase in quotes, I'm sure you'll find even better English-language examples):

    I always wash the dishes after every meal, as a matter of course.

    We would like the computer system to be configured to store every user's email on a backup server, as a matter of course.

    The dog buries every bone it receives, as a matter of course.

    Hope that helps.
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