'go so far as' to hint?

< Previous | Next >

ddubug

Senior Member
Korean
Hi,

Please look at this sentence.

<The poet went so far as to hint that his poetry might bave been his gift
back to the world in respond to the connection shared with a boy.>

What is the difference between these two?

1. The poet said~
2. The poet went so far as to hint~

I've looked up the dic. 'go so far as to~' means 'to be extreme', right?
But I can't get the meaning in this sentence.

The poet was extreme to hint???

Please help.
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    To go so far as to do something is to do something that is surprising, unexpected or extreme. Hope this helps.
    I've never heard of this meaning before. In ddubug's context, it means that the poet went to a certain point in his explanation and then stopped. That's why the information is referred to as a hint. The poet didn't complete the explanation but he went to a certain point, just enough to hint.

    Here's another example:

    A: "My father is 85 years old and still drives his car and I worry about him getting into an accident"
    B: "I know what you mean. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's dangerous, but I do think he should stop driving"
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's a kind of exaggeration here, or reverse exaggeration perhaps. Hinting is very subtle, very non-extreme. If you hint something you only go a very small way towards saying it. So to go as far as hinting is to go a really, really small distance: so that even hinting would be a big thing compared to what you did.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The poet went so far as to hint ...

    Two quite different perceptions are suggested above.
    1. In giving this hint the poet disclosed information about himself. I didn't expect him to go so far.
    2. In giving this hint the poet was withholding real information about himself. I expected him to be more forthcoming.

    It's another example of "is the glass half full or half empty".

    My reading of the sentence is (1).
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    As is often the case, I agree with panj. I would expect sense #2 only with the negative form, as in Dimcl's example. In the original context, something like "The poet hinted, but didn't go so far as to clearly state, that his poetry might have been his gift...." would be the only form that would express the 'withholding information' sense to me.
     

    spatula

    Senior Member
    English - London (Irish ethnicity)
    I can appreciate the sense that Joca took from this phrase. 'Go so far as' can definitely be used in everyday parlance to mean that a person is going beyond preconceived expectations. For example 'I've always dreamed of travelling first class and, although I'm broke right now, I may go so far as to treat myself just this one time.'

    I also think that the act of 'hinting' itself shouldn't be underestimated - sometimes this can be an explosive catalyst!
     

    spatula

    Senior Member
    English - London (Irish ethnicity)
    Upon reflection, I have two other thoughts to throw out there.

    1. I would always happily replace 'so far as' with the word 'even', and it's definitely the case here ('The poet even hinted as much'). When you do this, wouldn't you agree that this reinforces the underlying tone of surprise or extreme as Joca first put forward? It doesn't sound now like the poet curtailed the point he had started to make.

    2. However, if the original expression is used in the negative, I feel that this falls more into the sense that Dimcl outlined. Ie, 'I wouldn't go so far as to say he's fat.' In this case yes, it does imply that, figuratively, the speaker had begun a topic of conversation he was only willing to take to a certain point and fell short of completing it. When you think of it, it's a polite way of saying something controversial without actually saying it.

    In short, I reckon the meaning changes depending on whether it's used in the positive or negative (and I obviously don't just mean that they're the opposite of each other).
     

    hunnybun

    Member
    English
    Spot on, Spatula. The use of even instead of so far as actually makes the sentence much clearer. Less is often more when it comes to the number of words used. The positive/negative aspect is enlightening too.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I also agree with spatula.

    The poet went so far as to hint = the poet even hinted.

    Complete with :eek:!
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Hi, I have a question that is about as far as verb + ing.

    ‘The organization can only go as far as asking its employees to sign in and out by writing on a piece of paper.’

    I want to say this to mean the organization can have a lot of better options to check its employees’punctuality than to just write it coz by handwriting you can cheat.

    is it ok to use ‘as far as asking’? Thanks for your help.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Your sentence means that using paper is all they are allowed to do. I don't think that's what you mean. Am I right?
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Your sentence means that using paper is all they are allowed to do. I don't think that's what you mean. Am I right?
    hi, kentix, I want to say the organization can have a lot of other better options than to ask its employees to sign in and out on a piece of paper, not they are only allowed to write on a piece of paper. I want to say a big organization can only think of this useless way and it’s not effective. so I say ‘it only goes as far as asking its employees to sign in but can have made a better decision on that.’ Am I right to use as far as asking?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You just don't need "go so far as". It's not the appropriate context.

    You wrote a pretty good explanation yourself. Combining two of your entries:

    The organization can have has a lot of options to check its employees’ punctuality that are better than to just having them sign in and out on a piece of paper. Using handwriting, it is easy to cheat.
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    You just don't need "go so far as". It's not the appropriate context.

    You wrote a pretty good explanation yourself. Combining two of your entries:

    The organization can have has a lot of options to check its employees’ punctuality that are better than to just having them sign in and out on a piece of paper. Using handwriting, it is easy to cheat.
    Thanks
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top