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The Longman Dictionary has the following sentence:

Until now, doctors have been able to do very little to treat this disease.

Does it mean that doctors are still able to do very little to treat this disease? Or are they more capable of treating it now?

The same dictionary also uses it in the following way:

so far so good spoken used to say that things have been happening successfully until now

Is "until now" used in the same way as in the doctors example?

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So far, so good is used almost exclusively in the middle of whatever action or event is being described. See example from MW:

—used to say that something (such as a project or an activity) has proceeded well or without problems up to the present

"How's the work on your house going?" "There's a lot more to do, but so far, so good."

It is therefore said when the future results are unknown. Typically it has the connotation that the speaker expects the "good" results to continue. Exactly how sure the speaker can be interpreted based on the way it is spoken.


"Until now" is typically used when the "now" state is different from the past state. New information is known that wasn't before, or new products are available that weren't before. Here is a good source that has a lot of example sentences, including:

WRONG: We declare that the demanded amount has not been transferred to the bank account until today, which is the final date for repayment.

RIGHT: We declare that the demanded amount has not been transferred to the bank account to date, which is the final date for repayment.



Therefore these two phrases are typically not interchangeable

  • Are you a native speaker? Do you think the Longman use of "until now" in the definition is incorrect? – Apollyon Jun 27 at 3:13
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    I am native of AmE, and yeah I would say a better word choice would be something like "up to now". Dictionary definitions for phrases like these can be hard to condense both the usage and meaning into a simple sentence. – katatahito Jun 27 at 3:38

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