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Are "to date" and "so far" synonyms? Or is there a difference between the two.

For example,

So far, research has identified nearly 80 CYP450 enzymes involved in triterpenoid metabolism in plants.

vs.

To date, research has identified nearly 80 CYP450 enzymes involved in triterpenoid metabolism in plants.

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    They are interchangeable. Though, if these are being used in a report of the research, 'To date" is a better lead sentence providing specific results. And, "So far", is better added later to inform of the progress being made. – Norman Edward Nov 1 '18 at 8:27
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    Looks like to date is more formal than so far -- and I do not feel so far fits the context at all in the above sentence. – Kris Nov 1 '18 at 8:39
  • Related: “To date” versus “until now” english.stackexchange.com/q/5948/14666 Note that the accepted answer is only a unsubstantiated opinion, apparently wrong. – Kris Nov 1 '18 at 8:46
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    'To date' suggests to me that the process has been going on for quite a long time - 'up until today's date' - whereas 'so far' could be a long or short timescale - 'I've been looking out of the window for half an hour and haven't seen any birds so far'. – Kate Bunting Nov 1 '18 at 9:05
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For some reason, I have always liked the phrase “thus far” as it seems somehow more specific to me in certain areas. In my opinion I think it would work with the above sentence example; although “to date” may still be the best choice. Still, I like it, but I try not to use it overly much, as it is more formal sounding.

Still, it depends on what I am saying, and if it needs to maintain a more formal tone.

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  • I think I see where you're going, but right now it doesn't seem to answer the question as asked. It feels more like a comment than an answer, especially without any citations. Could you please expand it a little regarding any differences between "to date" and "so far/thus far"? – Gossar Nov 2 '18 at 12:22

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