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Thread: so / so that

  1. #1
    English4everyone is offline Member
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    Default so / so that

    Please, I want to know if there is difference between (so) and (so that)? Are they interchangeable?
    I have to learn driving so I can drive my own car.
    I have to learn driving so that I can drive my own car.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: so / so that

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Please, I want to know if there is difference between (so) and (so that)? Are they interchangeable?
    I have to learn driving so I can drive my own car.
    I have to learn driving so that I can drive my own car.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) I think that in real life, your two sentences are interchangeable. That is, native

    speakers would understand either sentence.

    (2) But if you are interested in speaking "perfect" English, then I think that there is a

    big difference.

    (a) so = therefore.

    (i) I am poor, so I cannot visit your country.

    (b) so that = purpose/ result

    (i) I always drive to work early so that I can get a good parking space. (purpose)

    (ii) I drove to work early, so that I got a good parking space this morning. (result)
    (Notice the comma. In speech, you need to pause.)

    I wish to credit the great Professor George O. Curme for explaining the two different

    meanings of "so that."

    (3) Regarding your sentences, it is only my opinion:

    I have to learn driving so that I can drive my own car. (The purpose of my learning.)

    I learned how to drive, so now I can drive my own car. (Therefore)

    I learned how to drive, so that I am now very popular with my neighbors, who want

    me to drive them everywhere! (The result of my learning.)

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: so / so that

    The AHD says

    Usage Note: Many critics and grammarians have insisted that so must be followed by that in formal writing when used to introduce a clause giving the reason for or purpose of an action: He stayed so that he could see the second feature. But since many respected writers use so for so that in formal writing, it seems best to consider the issue one of stylistic preference: The store stays open late so (or so that) people who work all day can buy groceries. Both so and so that are acceptably used to introduce clauses that state a result or consequence: The Bay Bridge was still closed, so (or so that) the drive from San Francisco to the Berkeley campus took an hour and a half.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: so / so that

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Please, I want to know if there is difference between (so) and (so that)? Are they interchangeable?
    I have to learn driving so I can drive my own car.
    I have to learn driving so that I can drive my own car.
    Please be aware that we say "learn to drive", not "learn driving".

  5. #5
    English Freak's Avatar
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    Default Re: so / so that

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Please be aware that we say "learn to drive", not "learn driving".
    You mean we never say "learn driving"? How about "learn cooking" and "learn swimming"?

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: so / so that

    Quote Originally Posted by English Freak View Post
    You mean we never say "learn driving"? How about "learn cooking" and "learn swimming"?
    People would understand those phrases, but the natural and common way of saying anything with "to learn" is to follow it with the full infinitive.

    I'm learning to drive.
    I learnt to swim.
    I will learn to speak Spanish next year.
    He's learning to play tennis.
    They are learning to ride a bicycle.

    With languages, we do sometimes just give the name of the language:

    I want to learn Portuguese.
    He is learning Italian.

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: so / so that

    I would say "learn how to drive."

  8. #8
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: so / so that

    Quote Originally Posted by English Freak View Post
    You mean we never say "learn driving"? How about "learn cooking" and "learn swimming"?

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Some verbs must be followed by a gerund:

    I enjoy reading newspapers.

    (2) Some verbs may be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive:

    I like eating/to eat Mexican food.

    (3) Some verbs usually must be followed by an infinitive:

    How old were you when you learned to drive? (OR: learned how to drive)

    Source for (3): Raymond Murphy, Grammar in Use / Reference and Practice for Intermediate Students of English (1989).

    (4) On the Web you can probably find lists of verbs that are followed only by infinitives, only by gerunds, and by either.

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