How far have you gone

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sunyaer, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    I want to coin a sentence by using the phrase "how far have you gone" to ask a question to my friend about how much he has finished reading a book. It seems that this sentence "how far have you gone reading the book" sounds OK to me, but google does not generate many hits.

    Does this sentence work here?
     
  2. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    "How far have you gone . . . " is understandable but sounds a bit odd. We'd probably say, "How far have you gotten [or got] in the book?" Or perhaps, "How much have you read so far?" Or, "Where are you up to?" (There are many alternatives.)
     
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with Parla on all counts:).
     
  4. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese

    Could we say "how far have you gotten [or got] in reading the book"?

    or "How much have you done reading so far?"
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  5. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    "How far have you gotten/got in the book?" is a very natural way to ask this question. "Reading" is assumed and you don't have to say it; in fact, saying it makes the sentence sound odd and unnatural.

    When we talk about "done reading," it sounds like you've read the whole thing. So you would say "I'm done reading the book" when you have read all of it. You can ask "How much have you read so far?"

    "Where are you [in the book]?" is also possible: "Where are you?" "I'm [at the point] where Carla finally escapes from the abandoned mine..."
     
  6. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Does this sound natural "how much have you finished reading this book?"
     
  7. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    That doesn't sound good at all. If you've "finished reading the book," then you've read all of it. It doesn't seem like that would accept degrees.

    "I've really finished reading the book" might mean "I've read the book cover-to-cover really carefully and I'll never, ever read it again," but that would be an extreme case.
     
  8. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    You could say "How much reading have you done?" but that wouldn't necessarily limit the answer to just the book in question.

    I'd say that "How far have you gotten/got in the book?" is the best way to ask, noting that (to me, at least) "gotten" would be AE and "got" would be BE.
     
  9. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Does this sound natural?

    "How much reading have you done on the book?"
     
  10. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    No: first, you read in a book; and second, you do reading on a subject, such as linguistics or the butterflies of Mongolia. This is different from 'done reading' where 'done' means "finished". Putting these two points together, you might think you can ask 'How much have you read in the book?' But really, no, it's not the natural way of saying it: as everyone else has said, we say 'How far have you got?'
     
  11. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    When you do "reading on" something, you're doing research about a certain topic. When you've "been doing a bit of reading on WWII," you've probably looked at an encyclopedia entry or two, skimmed one biography of Churchill, read a journal article about the Manhattan Project, pored over a couple books about military history of the period, and looked through a few memoirs of Holocaust survivors.

    If you asked me "How much reading have you done on the book?" I would assume that I was doing a research project on the book: maybe I am going to publish an article about Dante's Inferno and you are asking me about how my research is progressing. "Oh, not too much," I might reply, "I've basically just been working through the poem itself, although I have also read Auerbach's book on Dante."

    So you do suggest a possible question in English, but it doesn't ask the same thing as "How far are you in the book?"

    Are you just coming up with these questions at random, sunyaer, or did you find them somewhere?
     
  12. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    I just came up with these questions based on my first language expression. What I tried to know is whether or not I need the word “reading/read” when I ask a question to a friend about his reading a book. It turned out to be quite interesting in that the natural ways of saying this could be without the word “reading”. However, I still like to know a natural way to express this question, in which the words “reading/read” and “the book” are used.
     
  13. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    "How much reading have you done in the book?" might work well for a book of short stories or poems where you can read them out of order. "I've read 3 of the short stories and 2 of the poems." but it seems off for a novel or textbook that needs to be read sequentially.
     
  14. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I could say "How far have you got with reading that book?"
     
  15. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Does this work for a novel or textbook that needs to be read sequentially?

    "How much reading have you done with the book?"
     
  16. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    No, because you don't do reading "with" a book. (Maybe you do reading with an eBook reader, or a monocle, or a magnifying glass...)

    You could ask "How much time have you spent with the book?" because we say "spend time with something." But that doesn't say anything about what page you're on.

    I don't think this line of questioning is that productive, sunyaer, because you're coming up with non-natural sentences (which actually teaches/trains you to come up with non-natural sentences). I'd recommend asking a specific question about what kind of idiom you're looking for.
     
  17. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    Can it be more specific as "how much of the book have you read so far"? If this works, it seems "how many pages of the book have you read so far" also works, doesn't it?
     
  18. Hildy1 Senior Member

    English - US and Canada
    Just to add another suggestion to the excellent ones so far:- How far along are you in the book?
     

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