e.g. in the following sentences:

  1. This section presents recent developments in climate change as they relate to oceans.
  2. Two UN publications present the activities of the organization as they relate to the Articles of the Charter.

and in the following title of an article I found:

Effects of short- and long-course antibiotics on the lower intestinal microbiome as they relate to traveller's diarrhea

Could you please explain the meaning of the phrase "as they relate to"? As a non-native speaker I've come across it many times; I think it means something like "in terms of their relation to", but I'm unsure. Thanks in advance.

  • It can mean "in the context of".
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 9:36
  • Yes, the general sense must always be available. However, there are possible 'semi-paraphrases' with narrower definitions: < (1') This section presents the effects of recent developments in climate change on the oceans. > (Note that the original also allows for effects of the oceans on recent climate changes.) < 3' The question of whether short and long courses of antibiotics affect the lower intestinal microbiome in such a way as to increase the risk of traveller's diarrhea > (again possibly over-narrowing). I'd say these could be more clearly stated. // (2) leaves ample room for manoeuvre. Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


This section presents recent developments in climate change as they relate to oceans.

Climate change affects many things, including, but not limited to, rivers, lakes, soil, animals, crops, the economy, and on and on.

However, the section in question (i.e. "This section") only describes (or "presents") the part of climate change (or the "recent developments" thereof) where it concerns oceans. Nothing but the oceans. No lakes, no crops, no economy - just the oceans.

Which is why the phrase can be changed to:

... where oceans are concerned.


... pertinent to oceans.


In your second example, the activities in question can relate to any number of things, but the two publications are only concerned with that part of said activities that affects, or is affected by, the "Articles of the Charter."

In your third example, the scope of said effects can be huge, but the section under the title will only discuss the part that's relevant to traveler's diarrhea. I.e. "where traveler's diarrhea is concerned."

I hope this helps.

  • 1
    this is a very clear explanation! thank you a lot :) Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 12:02

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