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“to a degree” vs. “to an extent”

What's the difference between "to what extent" and "to what level"? Please support your answer with examples.

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"To what extent was the area flooded?" asks how much of the area was flooded.

"To what level was the area flooded?" asks how deep the water was.

The metaphoric usage would mean more or less the same thing:-

"To what extent have you studied physics?" asks how many topics you have studied in physics, or how long have you spent doing so.

"To what level have you studied physics?" asks how advanced your studies were.

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  • Although, in AmE to what extent is more common; at least metaphorically.
    – Noah
    Jul 25, 2012 at 11:57

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