anywere [ anywhere ] from a few years to a few decades ago

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caireo

Senior Member
Tibetan
Hi,

"These guys are experts in their job. They graduated anywhere from a few years to a few decades ago."

Is the sentence in bold idiomatic? Thank you.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Idiomatic... not sure, but it's a common enough construction that native speakers know it well.
    They had anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours...
    They are carrying anywhere from a few quarts to a few gallons...
    We do anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred drills every day...
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Good morning.

    The sentence sounds idiomatic to me. "Ago" only appears once, but the sentence means that these people graduated anywhere from a few years ago to a few decades ago. In other words, some of the people graduated a few years ago, some graduated a few decades ago and some graduated less recently than the first group but not as long ago as the second group.
     

    caireo

    Senior Member
    Tibetan
    Thank you very much, both of you.

    What about "They graduated anywhere between a few years to a few decades ago."?

    Or
    They graduated somewhere between a few years to a few decades ago."?

    Thank you.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It seems strange to me to hear ...where used with time periods.
    If I replace all of those with the equivalent ... thing words, the sentences are generally OK.
    They graduated anything from a few years to a few decades ago.
    ______________________

    They graduated anything between a few years to and a few decades ago.
    Or
    They graduated something between a few years to and a few decades ago.

    The second sentence feels a bit odd, but I've no idea why.
     

    caireo

    Senior Member
    Tibetan
    Hi, thank you again.

    Could it possible that "somewhere between X and Y" means only one point of time between X and Y, while "anywhere between X and Y" means many different points of time between X and Y? I don't know if I think of this in the right direction. If so, since the subject is "they" but not a single person, would it be appropriate to use anywhere, not somewhere?

    Thank you very much.
     
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