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What is the meaning of “get as far as doing something”?

According to my dictionary, we can use this expression to talk about how much progress someone makes, or how much effect something does. In my point of view, I think that there is no difference between these sentences, supposing they are both correct.

I went to Spain and I bought 5 Spanish music cd's. I went to Spain and I got as far as buying 5 Spanish music cd's.

I reallly can't understand why the explanation talks about progress. Supposing the 2nd sentence is correct, I bought 5 cd's as well as in the 1st sentence.

marked as duplicate by Andrew Leach, Jon Hanna, user19148, Robusto, FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 18:37

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"I got as far as buying 5 CDs" means that you were in the process of buying 6 or more CDs, but at that point you had only bought 5.

It may be that you did indeed go on to buy more, but often when we use the phrase it is because we are about to describe something that interrupted the progress. "I got as far as buying 5 CDs when the stores closed".

"I bought 5 CDs" has no implication that you were going to buy more.

  • Hmm, so as far as I can understand, when we use "get as far as doing sth", it means that we haven't finished doing something. We know that we will do something more. So in this example "I got as far as fixed this problem" does it mean that we know that we have more problems to fix? – user36663 Jan 30 '13 at 17:32
  • Yes. Though to be precise it means that according to our original intention, we were going to do more. It may or may not mean we've been stopped from it. In, "I got as far as fixing the first problem, I'll get the rest tomorrow", we still intend to. In "I got as far as fixing the first problem, when the project was cancelled", means we'll never continue as originally intended. In "I got as far as fixing the first problem", either is possible we're stating nothing about whether we'll continue with the original plan or not. – Jon Hanna Jan 30 '13 at 17:44
  • I went to Spain and I got as far as buying 5 Spanish music cd's., as it stands, is not ungrammatical but is semantically incomplete. When an -ing form follows 'got as far as', there needs to be a reference to an understood goal. Compare - I flew to Barcelona, to travel down the coast by train, and I got as far as Valencia. // eg: - Have you offered to take that girl you like to hear the Rodrigo concerto yet? - I've got as far as buying 5 Spanish music cd's. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 30 '13 at 17:50
  • So if I undersood correctly, there is always an intention of doing something more, but when there is any problem and we can't continue, we can get disappointed, nervous or something like that, because we intended to do it. For instance "I got as far as studying 20 pages, but because of a problem, I couldn't do it anymore. (I intended to study more and I got disappointed) – user36663 Jan 30 '13 at 17:58
  • @user36663 Exactly as stated in answers to your previous question. – Andrew Leach Jan 30 '13 at 18:00

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