It is clear that A degrades the value of B but it is not clear to what such degradation amounts.

I am trying to say that the degradation is for sure but we are not sure what [the amount of] that degradation exactly is. "Amounts to" might as well mean "of what sort/character". So it is not just about the degree or amount. The second sense is essential in my sentence.

I assume the usage of "amounts to" in that sense is idiomatic. If not, please let me know.

But my main question is whether using it in the above form is idiomatic. Due to some biases, I couldn't find reliable examples of such a usage on the web, and some principal sources (Cambridge Dictionary, Collins Dictionary, and Merriam Webster Dictionary) do not give such examples.

If you think such a usage is not idiomatic or is ambiguous, I appreciate your suggestion of verbs to replace "amount".

  • 1
    Since I'm not completely convicted of my answer, I shall not post it as an answer but a comment. I don't think what such sounds correct as you phrased it; maybe it is grammatically, but not idimatically, it sounds quite weird even for a non-native speaker's ears. I think, by that phrase, you meant something like: It is not clear to what kind of degradation amounts, if so, I do think that rephrasing it to: It is not clear to what type of degradation amounts will make it sound way better.
    – Davyd
    Aug 25 '17 at 20:49
  • Convinced not Convicted, sorry for my mistake.
    – Davyd
    Aug 25 '17 at 21:00
  • 1
    "...but it is not clear to what degree." Degradation is understood, and need not be repeated. Aug 25 '17 at 21:51

@anongoodnurse provided the answer in the comments “"...but it is not clear to what degree." Degradation is understood, and need not be repeated.”

The following question "to a degree" vs. "to an extent", posted in 2011, provided the impetus for me to hunt a little further.

Merriam-Webster has an entry for the expression

to what degree
how much

  • To what degree is she interested in finance?

a step or stage in a process, course, or order of classification

M-W adds an interesting note on the root grad

Word Root of degree

The Latin word gradus, meaning “step” or “degree,” gives us the root grad. Words from the Latin gradus have something to do with steps. Anything gradual happens slowly one step at a time. To degrade is to reduce from a higher to a lower degree. A grade is a step in school made up of one year of work. Even the word degree itself has gradus as its root.

  • That is a good suggestion but "to what degree" does not seem to have all what "amount to" has. "Amount to" may also mean "of what exact sort/character". And that is why I put "the amount of" in []. I want a word that has the second meaning too. The best choice is "amount to" itself but with that structure it gets weird when "to" goes before "what".
    – Sasan
    Aug 26 '17 at 9:12
  • I edited the question accordingly.
    – Sasan
    Aug 26 '17 at 9:16

It is undeniable that A degrades the value of B but to what extent remains uncertain/unclear.

The OP could substitute the last clause with

It is clear that … is currently under debate

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines the phrase as:

under debate

Being discussed or disputed

  • Most generally, I want to change "A amounts to B" to an indirect question such as "I want to ask to what A amounts.". Do you know of any alternative ways to say both sentences.
    – Sasan
    Aug 29 '17 at 16:01
  • @Sasan You need to clarify the question. I'm sorry but if my answers haven't helped it means I haven't understood the problem.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 29 '17 at 16:06
  • I clarified it as a separate question here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/407942/…
    – Sasan
    Aug 29 '17 at 18:16
  • @Sasan If I were writing, I'd say: 1. What does XYZ mount to? 2. How much does XYZ amount to? but they mean two different things. You need to add detail in your questions, what exactly do you want to say? Can't you provide some sort of CONTEXT? Real content, real sentences? Maybe tomorrow when I'm less tired, I'll understand more.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 29 '17 at 18:32
  • I want both meanings together at the same time in the same sentence. Can the sentence have both meaning at the same time when I say "What does A amount to"?
    – Sasan
    Aug 29 '17 at 18:36

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