It is easy to use this proverb in a variety of situations. It could be used among friends, family members, close colleagues, and professionals. It is relatively toneless and shouldn’t offend anyone. It can be used as a comment or answer as well as a question. “So far so good” is also commonly understood by most English-language speakers.
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“So far so good” Meaning
The phrase “so far so good” is commonly used in a variety of conversation types throughout the English language.
It is used to refer to a situation that is progressing well, at least so far. It has the potential to go poorly as time progresses, but at the moment, the speaker has no complaints. It might be used as a comment about someone’s personal situation or as a question. Someone might ask another person if everything is going well, saying, “so far, so good?”
The first written record of “so far so good” appears in James Kelly’s Scottish Proverbs, dating to 1721. It reads in full:
So far, so good. So much is done to good purpose.
Aside from this entry, it’s not clear who used the phrase first or if this truly was the first time the phrase was written down. Like most proverbs and idioms, this one likely evolved over time. It might’ve started out in one form and transitioned into what we know today as the language changed. Words and phrases fall out of common use as language changes.
How to use “So far so good”
It’s possible to use “so far so good” in a wide variety of situations. The phrase is easily used among friends, family members, and close colleagues. It can also be used in more progressional contexts due to its generally direct and uncontroversial tone. It is unlikely to offend anyone or make the speaker seem unprofessional. One’s boss might use it to ask you if your work is progressing well. You might also use it to address a colleague, asking them how their day is going. It’s also possible it use it in more personal situations. For example, asking a family member if a difficult task is going well so far.
- How is everything? So far so good?
- So far so good, but things could change quickly.
- Life is going well, so far so good, but who knows.
- There’s not much to complain about, so far so good.
- My first day of work is going along without a hitch—so far so good.
Why Do Writers Use “So far so good?”
Writers use “so far so good” in many different situations. It could be used in a dialogue between two characters or within a narrator’s description of an event or broader scene. For example, a narrator might comment, in a way, only the reader can hear, “so far so good” when they’re trying to see a secret plan through.
“So far so good” is a very common proverb, so much so that it’s unlikely that anyone hearing it isn’t going to know what it means. This means that many readers, if not all readers, are going to know exactly what it means. It can also help a writer make their work feel more realistic.
It’s easier to connect to a character if the writer includes phrases and words that the reader also uses. So, if readers come across a phrase they used in their everyday life, they’re more likely to relate to the dialogue and find it believable. But, at the same time, it’s also possible that proverbs and idioms like this one get overused and feel cliché to readers. This is going to make the reader disconnect from the text, having likely found the dialogue unbelievable.
The purpose is to describe how well something is progressing or to ask someone what’s going on. It’s easily used as both an answer and a question.
The phrase “so far so good” came from the UK. It’s unclear who used it first or how it has evolved since the 1700s.
Yes, “so far so good” is a proverb. This means that one uses it as a way of commenting on a situation. Proverbs are also often given as advice.
One might say, “So far, so good, but something could still go wrong” or “How are things going? So far, so good?”
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- “Comparing apples to oranges”
- “A taste of your own medicine”
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