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Historians see history as being driven by a combination of cumulative long-term trends and short to mid-term cycles, each of which contains the seeds of a subsequent but familiar situation.

Especially, I didn't understand the part "short to mid-term".

  • Note that you inadvertently omitted the words "combination of" from the first line of the block quote. I added them, to match the wording used in online versions of the quotation at three different sites. – Sven Yargs May 10 '16 at 2:17
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The sentence reads like something translated to English from another language. I say this because a native English speaker would be very likely to avoid using the word "mid-term" to mean "medium-length," since midterm has a very different standard meaning in English. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) has this entry for midterm:

midterm n (1906) 1 a : the middle of an academic term b : an examination at midterm 2 : the approximate middle of a term of office

In short, the word midterm normally consists of mid- in the sense of "middle" plus term (in the sense of "academic or political block of time or tenure"); but the quoted excerpt seems to want to use it to mean medium (that is, "medium-size" or "medium-length") plus term (in the sense of "length of time"). But really, medium-size or medium-length would be a much better (and more accurate) word choice than mid-term for the author of the excerpt to have used.

  • This sentence is from Cambridge vocabulary for IELTS. – Qələndər Mehdiyev May 15 '16 at 4:18
  • @Qələndər Mehdiyev: If mid-term is generally understood in British English to mean "medium-term" (that is, "medium-length"), I must plead ignorance of the fact. In U.S. English, the meanings of the word midterm are as the Eleventh Collegiate specifies (and as I report them) in my answer above. – Sven Yargs May 16 '16 at 2:18
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This means, in context, that "Historians think that history is controlled by a trend that is seen only in long observations and that such trend acumulates itself, and [historians think that history is controlled] BY cycles that are short and that are medium, but not long.

Any question ask again.

  • Thannkss for your answer! It's clear now. You mean in this context "from" is omitted? From short to mid-term? :) – Qələndər Mehdiyev May 10 '16 at 1:43
  • At the risk of putting words into Samuel's mouth (or keyboard): yes, "from" can be and is omitted in some contexts like this.  "The New York to Florida drive takes twelve hours." → "The drive from New York to Florida ...." – Scott May 10 '16 at 7:23
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Yes. In this case, "short" and "med(ium)" are adjectives describing the noun cycles, and when there are adjectives, a when there is the word "to" between them, and the last of them is followed by the symbol "-", then there will never be the word "from" to help the adjectives describe the noun.

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    In situations like this, you should edit your first answer to clarify it, rather than adding a second answer. – Scott May 10 '16 at 7:25

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