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Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69750/when-youre-strange

It was, as best as I can recall, the first time I listened to a poet speak.

Not sure how to understand the phrase "as best as" in the context. Does the phrase have the same meaning as "as far as"?

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    The speaker is hedging. There is less than perfect confidence in the recollection. "as far as" is a decent paraphrase.
    – TimR
    Dec 16, 2017 at 15:18
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    You might want to read this article: articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-01-11/features/… [by the way, for me, as best as I can recall, is adverbial,but never mind me. :)]
    – Lambie
    Dec 16, 2017 at 15:22

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Although on the surface it might seem like the two expressions mean pretty much the same thing, they're actually not exactly the same. My feeling is that as best as in meaning would be somewhat similar to the expression to the best of one's ability (but I don't think they're completely interchangeable) and, with regard to the actual phrase in question, to the expression to the best of one's recollection. It has the nuance that there is a mental or physical effort involved on the speaker's part when they're trying to do something. as far as doesn't seem to have that distinction. It just means to the extend that. So, when you say something like As far as I know, Bolivia is a country in South America, this implies that you don't have to think hard to recall that fact because it's in the range of your immediate knowledge. The act of recalling, on the other hand, typically requires some mental exertion to be done before you can say something for certain.

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