USAGE QUERY….A Washington Post story about an upcoming auction of wireless spectrum includes this sentence:

The auction is also testing the political might of Google, which has to this point been somewhat of an outsider in Washington.

Question: do you think the phrase “somewhat of” is correct in this context? I see this a lot, and it strikes me as flatly wrong. It should be “something of an outsider.”

Agree? Disagree? Did “somewhat of” used to be incorrect but has since become standard usage? Or has it always been OK?

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