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Can anyone explain the difference between "at the time" vs "of the time"? For example:

This did not quite fit the prevailing architectural schools at the time it was designed.

This did not quite fit the prevailing architectural schools of the time.

Is it as simple as the following?

  • "at the time" + temporal reference (e.g., yesterday, tomorrow)
  • "of the time" Ø temporal reference (e.g., "it was the material of the time that had an impact...")
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  • Both of your two examples are valid and mean essentially the same thing, but with slightly different nuances. (Though I can't easily describe those nuances.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 16:40

2 Answers 2

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The first example means that, back at the time when it was designed, it was considered that this didn't quite fit the prevailing contemporary architectural schools.

The second one is more like in the case of some art connoisseur stating, this didn't quite fit the prevailing architectural schools that were existing and active at the time it was designed.

Hope it helps.

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In this context, of the time usually stresses integration within a temporal reference, and at the time stresses specificity of a temporal reference.

Of the time it took to get away, the monster escaped.

At the time of the getaway, the monster escaped.

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