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I have been trying to get my head around the meaning of "insofar as", but it keeps eluding me. I know it means "to the extent that" or "as much as" as in "I will help insofar as I can" but there are many different cases where I can't grasp the meaning, such as in "The news is good insofar as it suggests that a solution may be possible". Another example is "quarterly earnings matter to investors only insofar as they can at times provide information about future earnings". Can "insofar as" mean because, while, as long as? Any help would be very much appreciated.

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    Draconis has it almost exactly, but I would substitute extent for respect in his answer. It is an expression that qualifies a domain. Something is a certain way only to the extent that some qualifier can be applied.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 2:26
  • "The news is good to the extent that it suggests that a solution may be possible" and "quarterly earnings matter to investors only to the extent that they can at times provide information about future earnings" both sound fine to me.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 16:10
  • in so far as is used to mean, 'to the extent that'. Sometimes 'in that' is also used for similar sense.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 19:06

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A general way of looking at the phrase insofar as is to examine the definition of the phrase: to the extent or degree that. With this definition in mind, we may conjecture that the the words extent and degree are quite similar to the word while - in that extent is a limit and while is a condition precedent to a limit being reached.

Another way of examining the phrase - to better comprehend its use - is to take a look at one of its synonymous phrases inasmuch as, which means in view of the fact (since). If you look at the phrase in these two ways, you will come to the conclusion that it can be used to describe a period of time or the conditions to that effect.

Sources:

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To my perception, it's more like with respect to the fact that. The news is good: but what I'm particularly concerned with is that it suggests a possible solution, and that's why it's good news.

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  • It should be added that the phrase conversationally implicates that there may be others respects: 'the news is good insofar as X' (i.e. with respect to X) conversationally implicates that it may turn out that there is something else, Y, and that the news is not so good insofar as Y (with respect to Y).
    – jsw29
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 16:47
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'in' as in "in my opinion" : Can you feel the nuance of 'in'?

'so' as in "It's so far from here." : Can you feel the nuance of 'so'?

'far' as in "It's so far from here." : Can you feel the nuance of 'far'?

'as' as in "Do as I do." or "You have as much as I have": Feel the nuance of 'as'?

The simple structure is: in A as B (Where A=so far)

in A as B can be divisible as: in A, as B

in A: in so far(American E.) = insofar(British E.)

so far is in the preposition 'in' and we need to know the meaning of 'in'

in the the room, in the airport, in summer, in my pocket, etc.

'in' includes space, boundaries, distance, range, and limits(in case of going out of the boundaries of 'in')

as B is easy: like B (though as has many kinds of usages)

Conclusion:so far is confined in 'in' and so far confines 'as B' (only to B)

'so far as B' is confined in 'in'

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