As Far As ‘As Far As’

Reminded driving back from USC this morning as I listened to NPR of how dissonant it feels to me when the construction ‘As far as X is concerned’ (or ‘As far as X goes’, or somesuch) is lazily collapsed to ‘As far as X’. It’s a lingustic meme that I’m guessing gets passed on verbally in a single chunk, with no consideration for what might have been left dangling — language that’s lost morphology and is only phonology. Is it a particularly American drift? I can’t remember hearing it in Britain — not that we’re any more precise when it comes to language, but I don’t think that particular laziness is one of ours.

But I don’t have to guess, because someone’s done the work, amazingly enough: Syntactic variation and change in progress: Loss of the verbal coda in topic-restricting AS FAR AS constructions. Also, some brief discussion here.

Needless to say, when searching for this one of the first links I found was to a scholarly piece entitled Survey Results Show the Necessity for Good Grammar Instruction in which the mistake is made not once, but twice:

As far as implications for teaching, these results stress the importance of teaching the standard writing dialect.
As far as being bothered or not, the numbers were very close.

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