I am working overtime this week, and I have earned $200 extra thus far.
I was working overtime that week, and I had earned $200 extra thus far. (?)

Does the use of thus far require that the action is continuing to the present (i.e. Is it grammatical to use thus far with past perfect?)?

3 Answers 3


Well, let's look at the difference between the two sentences.

I'm working overtime this week, and I've earned $200 extra thus far.

The week is presumably not over yet, and already the speaker has earned $200 extra. Now let's imagine expressing this about last week or just any week in the past. The entire week is already over, so using a word that means "up to this point" is odd.

Instead, what you want to say is that there was a point last week (or some week in the past), by which you had earned $200 extra. So it becomes something like:

I was working overtime last/that week, and I had already earned $200 extra by Thursday.

"By Thursday" is just an example, any expression about a specific time would do. It could be derived from context too

John came to the restaurant last Thursday. I was working overtime, and I'd already earned $200 extra by then (or by that point).

Note that "thus far" has other meanings besides "up to this point" - the preceding explanation has to deal with your specific use case.

  • @RussianD I like your answer. I think the OP wants the following addressed as well: "> I was working overtime that week, and I had earned $200 extra thus far. (?)" You can explain why this is wrong and get the bounty. I'll give you two days then I'll post the answer myself. : ) Mar 18, 2015 at 18:08
  • I thought my answer was the explanation for why "thus far" isn't a good choice in combination with past tenses :) If you have a better way of expressing that, go ahead and post it.
    – RuslanD
    Mar 19, 2015 at 0:22
  • @RuslanD Between your actual answer and your comment on Damkerng T.'s answer (which I would appreciate you working into your answer above if you get a chance), I've accepted yours as the best response thus far (:D). It does seem to be possible (i.e. not grammatically "wrong" and not necessarily awkward) to use thus far with past perfect as long as it's framed within the right context.
    – pyobum
    Mar 23, 2015 at 2:07

thus far is an idiom which means up to this point, so far. Yes, it is ok to use it with Past Perfect since the beginning of the sentence has also the Past Tense, the meaning is about the past.


These are some examples of thus far (in past time) found on Google Books.

In the simple past:

Rod Butler was right—it might have been a layman's logic, but it sounded right and made too much sense over a few beers out of earshot of the brass: werewolf DNA was the only DNA, thus far, that the scientists thought was capable of being fused with human DNA.
Bad Blood, L. A. Banks

[...]; the new and newly trained I./JG 3 was positioned in the thus far untouched Munich region along with the JG 3 staff, newly transferred from the East; [...]
The Road to Big Week, Eric Hammel

In the past perfect:

Lane, in fact, was being kind, because thus far in 1912 Joe Wood had been plain rank nearly as often as he had been in the front ranks.
Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year, Glenn Stout

Robert Warren recalls that the establishment started to sit up and listen: 'It was clear that something major was going on. Thus far we'd had no success in reaching street culture with the Christian message.'
Rise and Fall of the Nine O'Clock Service, Roland Howard

When the British army had advanced thus far on their road to Batavia, that city was observed to be on fire; and the general, naturally concluding that the enemy had either evacuated it, or meant to do so, sent forward the advance of the army under Colonel Gillespie, to take possession of it.
History of the French Revolution and of the Wars Produced by that Memorable Event, Christopher Kelly

[...]; that the former was the saddest and the yellowest great statesman that I had had opportunity, thus far, to look upon, and the latter—well, it is not pleasant, even now, to recall how dead, how long time dead, she appeared.
Mark Twain's Library of Humor, Mark Twain

(emphasis added)

  • I found similar examples on Google. It just seems..."off"...in certain contexts when it's used with past perfect. Some online dictionaries define the expression as "until now" or "up to this point," which I take to mean the time of speaking. I suppose that's what's mixing me up about the time references it can be used with. The usage examples make a strong case for it being "acceptable" for use with past perfect. In short, can we define thus far as "up to this [that] point?"
    – pyobum
    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:34
  • This is really tricky. I don't think defining "thus far" as "until now" or "up to this point" is incorrect at all. Now is usually used in the meaning "at the present time". However, it can also mean "at a particular time in the story". This is even trickier. Unlike, that, which always (normally?) refers back to something, this can be used for either forward or backward referents. I'm not sure if this makes any sense. I hope it does. Mar 17, 2015 at 7:46
  • Keep in mind that just because "thus far" can be used in some past contexts, doesn't mean it always makes sense in such contexts. In your original example, the past-tense version of the sentence is not a direct equivalent of the present-tense version. Like in @DamkerngT.'s examples, you need additional information to resolve what "thus far" is referring to in a past context, whereas in a present context it's implicit.
    – RuslanD
    Mar 20, 2015 at 21:12

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