insofar as = to the degree that?

TNdaSZ

Senior Member
Chinese - China
I searched for the phrase in several dictionaries and they all gave me this,

insofar as means to the degree that

But when I replaced "insofar as" with "to the degree that" in the sample sentences given, it just doesn't work.

Sample sentence from a dictionary,
"I gave him the details insofaras I knew them."
"I gave him the details to the degree that I knew them."??? What does it mean? I don't recall seeing sentences like this.

Thank you!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In my experience insofar is always followed by “as”, and it means “to the extent that”:

    An infinite number of equal rectangles are contained in a circle, but none of them can be said to exist except insofar as the circle exists.
    I was surprised to find that insofar “that” is also considered an established construction (for example by Oxford and Merriam-Webster, but apparently not by WR). It sounds odd to me.
     

    TNdaSZ

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    It means I gave him those details which I knew, (but they are not all the details which exist)... I gave him the details, to the limit of my knowledge.
    In my experience insofar is always followed by “as”, and it means “to the extent that”:

    An infinite number of equal rectangles are contained in a circle, but none of them can be said to exist except insofar as the circle exists.
    I was surprised to find that insofar “that” is also considered an established construction (for example by Oxford and Merriam-Webster, but apparently not by WR). It sounds odd to me.
    Thank you!
     
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