In a manner of speaking

In a manner of speaking is an idiom that means the same as ‘in other words’ or ‘so to speak’. It is used usually after a statement to clarify a subtext or alternative meaning to the previous statement. Many people confuse this phrase by saying in a matter of speaking. This phrase builds off of one of manner‘s definitions as a type or kind of something (e.g., manner of men, manner of style). So one can think of manner of speaking as a way of saying something.

The related idiom is as a matter of fact. This phrase means ‘actually’ or ‘contrary to what has been said’. Typically it is used when one wants to correct misinformation or to give further information on a particular point.


Another idiom in the same vein is as a matter of course, which means an event or action is not out of the ordinary.


Star Wars did not win its central place in the world’s heart and culture because the movie, in a manner of speaking, “imitates life” or stands as a symbol for justice, equality and tolerance. [Forbes]

What was largely wilderness half a lifetime ago is now, in a manner of speaking, the city part of the country. [Atlanta Magazine]

In the Philippines, the Filipinos don’t necessarily consider themselves as prompt people. As a matter of fact, the act of being tardy in the Philippines is often characterized as being on ‘Filipino Time’ by the locals. [CNN]

Despite the ruling, Thomas Cook says it will not pay bird-strike compensation as a matter of course. [Manchester Evening News]


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