...only go so far...

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
Spring is the season when newly minted college graduates flock to New York City to start their careers. They begin the search for their dream apartment, brokers say, with the same single-minded determination that earned them their degrees and landed them their jobs in the first place.
But that determination only goes so far when it comes to Manhattan real estate. (source)

What does "only go so far" mean?
Is that a stock phrase or an idiom?
 
  • Oschito

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I'd say it's a stock phrase, but not terribly far from literal.

    In this case, the determination of these college grads will only take them to a certain point, and no further.

    The not-so-literal implication being that determination alone will not get debt-ridden young people apartments in a place like Manhattan where nice apartments are in high demand.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Spring is the season when newly minted college graduates flock to New York City to start their careers. They begin the search for their dream apartment, brokers say, with the same single-minded determination that earned them their degrees and landed them their jobs in the first place.
    But that determination only goes so far when it comes to Manhattan real estate. (source)

    What does "only go so far" mean?
    Is that a stock phrase or an idiom?
    Yes, it's a pretty standard idiom, Wookie. As Oschito said, it means that something will only go so far and no further. Think of a cheeky child who is cute and has a big smile. They often get away with mischief because of their sweet appearance. However, that only goes so far and then someone will take them to task despite their charm.
     
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