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How long have you known this referee and in what capacity

I'm filling my university application I met this question which befuddled me.

Does it mean "are you familiar with the referee"?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

No. This is the fourth definition for "capacity" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

duty, position, role

So, possible answers to "in what capacity" here would be, for example:

  • I worked with the referee at company XYZ, where we were both software developers.

  • The referee was my Maths teacher at school.

And an answer to the full question "How long have you known this referee and in what capacity" would be, for example:

  • I worked with [name] from January 2007 to March 2009 at company XYZ, where we were both software developers.
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Thanks a lot. According to my Google result, my people give the wrong answer to this question. –  ablmf Oct 19 '10 at 14:08

Bruno probably has the correct answer, but in this case I read "in what capacity?" as "in what way and to what extent?"

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Fortunately, those are basically the same answers. "In what way" and "in what role" are close enough. –  khedron Oct 18 '10 at 21:25

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