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A quick search suggests that insofar is the American variant of the British in so far. I always assumed it belonged to the set of expressions like hitherto, heretofore, therefore and albeit. Is there a preferred usage, and does it matter? General context for the usage of these expressions would be helpful.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

From Wiktionary:

The form insofar is American English; the standard form in British and other English is 'in so far'.

I also have never seen the form 'in so far' used in American English.

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I'm not convinced that "insofar" is restricted to American English - for example this (British) dictionary lists it (and doesn't note it as American, unlike for "traveler/traveller" for example): dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/insofar-as –  psmears Jan 12 '11 at 18:23
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I can't speak to whether or not it is acceptable British English; I do know that 'insofar' is the accepted American English version and 'in so far' is not. –  morganpdx Jan 12 '11 at 18:25
    
I always knew it was in so far in American english as well. Well it explains I am not native American english speaker :) –  Tarik Aug 28 '11 at 12:03
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I am from USA. where insofar is prevailing. I actually haven't encountered "in so far" at all.

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I can only think of context using insofar as or insofar that. It seems to be a wordy way to say since or because of For example: Insofar as we received 24 inches of snow, people are advised to limit their driving as much as possible.

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There are ways to use it that are meaningful, in which "since" or "because" would not do. "Hitler's war was successful in so far that he conquered Germany's nemesis; but he failed in his personal quest, that for eternal glory." "Israel's power will be secure only in so far as it is able to protect its current territory: any loss of land is a nail in its coffin, limiting its potential for agriculture and construction." –  Cerberus Jan 6 '11 at 3:47
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@Cerberus, agreed. A better periphrase would be "to the extent that". –  Benjol Jan 6 '11 at 9:24
    
Thanks. I agree too. –  Spare Oom Jan 12 '11 at 12:36
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protected by RegDwigнt Jun 29 '12 at 9:01

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