Interested in Language
Considering the overall meaning of the following paragraph, the bold sentence seems meaningless and somehow contradictory to me. Since the author adds, "eventually, it has opposite effect", how relying on fear can work for so long? I wonder if the words "alone" and "only" have some key role I've ignored.
Thanks in advance for collaborating on it.
"In the short term, fear can scare people into action and help drive funding for security projects. However, relying on fear alone can only work for so long. Eventually, it has the opposite effect. It causes the Chief Information Security Officer to lose credibility. In fact, I think relying on fear may even contribute to the high rate of job turnover among CISOs."
Managing Risk and Information Security - Protect to Enable
By Malcolm Harkins
Last edited by Ali Hsn; 07-Aug-2015 at 09:07. Reason: An extra "the" removed. The author and source of the quotation added.
Hello, Matthew Wai,
Could you explain your reasoning please?
The expression "only X for so long" means "for a limited period of time."
It's an idiomatic use of "so."
27. only /just so many, being a limited or small number or amount:I can eat only so many pieces of fruit.
28.only /just so much, being a limited amount or quantity; up to acertain point or maximum:I can eat only so much fruit; just so much that one can do in such acase.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
Ali, in future, please state the author and source of your quoted text.