in so far as

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
Please help me.
What does it mean " in so far as". Thanks.
"On the contrary, we have seen that most children are ill-prepared for employment in so far as they know a little about what to expect when they start work."
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Mimi,
    It's usually spelled "insofar" and the form you use is "insofar as".

    I've checked with Google, and while there are some 24 million citations with the preferred, one word, spelling, the other form with three words is also widely used, and has 11 million appearances. I have not found "in so far" in any dictionary, even as an alternate spelling...but that doesn't stop people from doing it that way.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Well, I was fully prepared to accept that... I usually blame BE for anything unfamiliar...but Cambridge offers this:

    insofar as
    conjunction FORMAL
    to the degree that

    (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
    and has no notation that it is American usage, or that there is a BE alternate.

    Oxford has
    insofar as /= in so far as at far
    Checking far, I find the three word version listed as an idiom:
    in so / as far as to the degree that: That’s the truth, in so far as I know it.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Thanks River. The puzzle continues. That source states,
    "Refer to the Oxford English Dictionary for all words not covered by this guide. " However, as noted above, Oxford has the two word version, with no notation about it being AE.

    My tentative conclusion, based on two English and 5 AE dictionaries:

    Insofar is formal, and insofar as is formal, and in so far as is more colloquial. I will hope to be debunked or supported by a BE speaker.


     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Thanks all of you.
    But I'd like you to confirm: insofar as = because
    Thanks.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It wouldn't occur to me to write insofar.
    Isn't it strange that the word isn't insofaras? Well, maybe not.

    The OED says that in so far as is the conventional form, but notes that in-so-far and insofar also appear. There is no suggestion that insofar is AE - both have been used in BE.
     
    Cucheflete
    Insofar is formal, and insofar as is formal, and in so far as is more colloquial. I will hope to be debunked or supported by a BE speaker.


    I'll have to debunk you (throw you out of bed ;) ) and then offer you some support, if that is your hope. :p

    You are debunked for "insofar as".

    You are supported for "in so far as". :tick:

    But if you are familiar with "insofar as" then that is the right choice for you and, presumably, your fellow Americans.

    Which one ya gonna choose?


    LRV
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    OUP should coordinate its products. In so far as the Advanced Learners volume is concerned, as noted in an earlier post, insofar is one word, and in so far as is an idiomatic usage.

    I didn't say that. OUP did. The Cambridge entry only lists the contracted form.

    I cannot imagine using either version...they both sound completely British. More typical AE usage would be "as far as".
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Just to draw mimi2's attention on JDWFball90's post #2 :
    insofar as they know a little..... is more than strange in the context of your sentence.
    insofar as they know little..... would make perfect sense.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    j0ckser said:
    I would offer that if insofar as/in so far as can be replaced by because, then don't use the others.
    If it meant because, and only meant because, I would agree with you.
    But often insofar as/ in so far as has a different meaning. See River's earlier post.
     
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