Insofar as (also in so far as/in as far as) means to the degree that. However, it is not as unequivocal as it sounds when it comes to using so I have a few example-questions to make sure I use it correctly?

Could you check my sentences if "insofar as" is used correctly in the following sentences and if it is not, could you rewrite the sentence while keeping the original sense. If my are sentences are completely wrong or not re-writable, you can state that.

1.It was Black Friday. There was huge discounts on candies that insofar people tried to buy them/ people bought them.

(What I mean : There was huge discounts that people tried buy as much candy as possible)

2.We went to the museum of chocolate last weekend but chocolate brands were so expensive only people could buy some insofar as their income.

(What I mean : Chocolate brands so expensive , the more people are rich the more could buy them.)

3.I feel happy insofar as I can help people in need.

(The more I help people in need, the more I feel happy.)

Apparently, there is a difference between "I feel happy as long as I can help people in need" because there is no degree in that sentence. My happiness is kept in some level when I can help but if I cannot I will be sad.

4.The noise coming from outside was pretty distracting but insofar as I kept on focusing the lecture.

(What I mean : I tried to keep on focusing the lecture as much as I can even though there was a noise coming from outside.)

  • It's usually in so far as or in as much as, but in both cases the single-word form is much more common. But all variations of the construction are a bit dated/formal/literary today, and have fairly complex syntactic restrictions. It's best to just avoid them completely. Dec 29, 2016 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


In my opinion this is the only meaning that justifies its use: "to the extent that".

For all other purposes there is "in that", "as far as", sometimes simply "if" and "when".

Some examples:

The depiction of sex in the show is arguably one of its distinctive aspects, and cheesy only insofar as sex is fundamentally absurd.

(The Atlantic)

I am obliged, in so far as I am able, to write about the world as I find it to be.

(The Age)


Your setups for

insofar as

are not quite right, there needs to be a qualifying aspect to the phrase that follows

1.People bought lots of candy insofar as they wanted to take advantage of the huge discount. 2.Chocolate is a luxury item insofar as only those with money can buy it.
3.I feel happy insofar as I can help people in need.
4.The noise coming from outside was pretty loud insofar as it kept distracting me.

  • All of your sentences seem off to me. None of the meanings is quite right ... Dec 29, 2016 at 14:21
  • 1
    @Araucaria I look forward to your example sentences.
    – Peter
    Dec 29, 2016 at 14:28
  • @Araucaria: I see nothing wrong with #2 above, apart from the fact that any use of the construction is likely to come across as being a bit "stilted" today. Approximately, A insofar as B means A is only a valid assertion in the specific context of B, which to my mind is only reflected in #2 above. Dec 29, 2016 at 14:37
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers Yes, you're right. No 2 is perfectly fine. My mistake. Dec 29, 2016 at 14:40

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