3

Are these sentences the same?

  1. As far as I know, he's going to Chicago.

  2. So far as I know, he's going to Chicago.

  3. In so far as I know, he's going to Chicago.

I think that they are the same in meaning but differ in formality. I think the first one is formal, the second one is informal, and the third one is very formal.

4
  • So far as I know is slightly marked, as formal, in US English. Therefore less common in speech. Insofar as (with variable spacing) is a technical legal term. Don't use it if you aren't a lawyer. – John Lawler Jan 29 '13 at 19:47
  • @JohnLawler why is insofar as specifically legal? It is archaic I grant you, but exclusively legal? Could you provide some references for that? – terdon Jan 29 '13 at 19:52
  • As far as popular registers*, archaic = legal; any distinction would be important only to a lawyer or an historian. – John Lawler Jan 29 '13 at 21:23
  • * as far as they go, that is. – John Lawler Jan 29 '13 at 21:24
3

As far as I know, he’s going to Chicago.

So far as I know, he’s going to Chicago.

These are identical in meaning and register. They differ only by dialect or individual speaker preference. According to Google Ngrams, they are approximately equal in popularity:

Google Ngram chart showing relationship between *as far as*, *so far as*, and *in so far as*.

In so far as I know, he’s going to Chicago.

This is a less popular variant, which to my ear sounds slightly more formal simply because it’s wordier. In American English the spelling is insofar, meaning “to such an extent”.

0

The first one is the most common usage in casual and even semi-formal speech/writing.

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