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Thread: so (that)

  1. #21
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: so (that)

    That's interesting. I can read Curious's examples #1 and #4 with "so that = with the result that"; though #2 and #3 I would read as "so that = in order that":

    1. In television and film it's very different, it's almost the opposite, so that [with the result that] there are different skills in managing a project from an idea to the script ...

    — Something in tv/film is different; this means that there are different skills involved in managing a tv/film project from start to finish.

    2. The straps should be soft enough not to chafe, adjustable, so that [in order that] they don't dig in to your skin, and wide enough to give proper support.

    — The purpose of the straps' softness is not-digging-into-skin-ability (for which I'm sure a German word exists – Unhautraubendheit or whatnot).

    3. I also need to make internet shopping part of my weekly or bi-weekly routine, so that [in order that] I don’t have to grapple with a big shop – virtually impossible on a ...

    — He wants to become a more regular e-shopper, in order to avoid the revolting families stuffing their faces with Cadbury Creme Eggs at the tills in Tesco's on a Saturday morning.

    4. "We've got a number of sexual referral centres right across the country, much better doctors, much better medical examinations, so that [with the result that] women now are coming forward in increasing numbers."

    — Having more centres means more visitors.

    I find the "so that" in such contexts to have (somehow) a quieter sense of "consequence". I might use it to downplay my conclusions. "And so" seems (again, somehow) more "confidently assertive".

    As for the original sentence, I would go along with Cas's analysis of the ambiguity.

    MrP

  2. #22
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    Default Re: so (that)

    It's interesting, I agree. To me, "so that" introduces a reason clause (I.) in 1.; i.e., in what way are TV and film different?

    1. In television and film it's very different, it's almost the opposite, so that [in that] there are different skills in managing a project from an idea to the script ...

    Semantically, "with a result that" doesn't want to work for me. I just can't seem get the underlined clause to form a result. What is it a result of?

  3. #23
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: so (that)

    It would require more context for me to read it as a consequence. Alone, I can't see it that way.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Now, obviously his being a harsh critic didn't cause him to realized the world could run out of key resources (II. "so that") - rather, it's the other way around: his realization altered his behavior (III. "so that). But how does one discriminate bewteen the two sans additional context? (Check out [4], the bbc.co.uk example, again. )

    Is "so that" a viable choice? Yes. Is "so that" ambiguous"? Yes. So, given that information, which of the two here works best to disambiguate the test question?

    A) so that <consequently; in that; for (the reason) that; because>
    D) and so <consequently; and>

    It's your choice.

    Note that, the test question is testing your understanding of the function and distribution of co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions. "so that" works, but it works too well. It offers more than one meaning, whereas "and so" does not. It serves to define clearly the cause & effect relationship by separating the clauses with "and".

    Hope that helps out some.
    All the best.
    Hi, Casiopea. As a native speaker, you wouldn't mistake sense 3 for sense 2, would you? So, why is it ambiguous? Sense 2 does not produce a logical meaning, so you interpret it as in sense 2. I agree with you about "and so" 's being a better choice, but can you say that "so that" produces an incorrect sentence? What does this question assess? There are two phrases which can both be used for the same function. Isn't it unfair for the test-makers to expect the testees to choose from two viable alternatives?

  5. #25
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Semantically, "with a result that" doesn't want to work for me. I just can't seem get the underlined clause to form a result. What is it a result of?
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It would require more context for me to read it as a consequence. Alone, I can't see it that way.
    Here's the full text again:

    "In radio and theatre, the writer is absolutely central to the process and you see the whole thing through, literally in your contracts nobody is allowed to do anything to your script than what you've done and it's very collaborative. The writer is at the very core of the enterprise. In television and film it's very different, it's almost the opposite, so that there are different skills in managing a project from an idea to the script and then to being made."

    Which I take to mean:

    "In radio and theatre, the writer is in control throughout. In tv and film, the writer isn't in control throughout, with the result that if you want to manage your project all the way through, from original idea to making the film/programme, you have to use very different skills from those you use in the theatre (e.g. you have to learn to accept other people's suggestions; you have to be tactful and persuasive, as you don't have the final say)."

    Does that sound any better?

    <hopeful>

    MrP

  6. #26
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Isn't it unfair for the test-makers to expect the testees to choose from two viable alternatives?
    Though I still don't see this one as viable, sometimes questions slip through where there should only be one correct answer, but there are in fact, two possibilities. Such problems are normally ironed out in the piloting phase, so it could be that it wasn't piloted sufficiently and the question didn't arise.

  7. #27
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic

    Does that sound any better?

    <hopeful>

    MrP
    A little.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Isn't it unfair for the test-makers to expect the testees to choose from two viable alternatives?
    The problem is, A) "so that" isn't a 'viable' choice in that particular context. I'm not sure why that is, yet.

    As for semantics, I wonder if "realized" or "could" has anything to do with why "so that" reads awkward. Both of these work for me, that is, if I sway over to the "so that" acceptance-side,

    He realized his potential, so that he was the top employee.
    He realized he could do the job, so that he was the top employee.

    The same holds true for the test sentence, "He realized the world could . . . , so that he was a harsh critic. . . ". While it's starting to sound familar to me - chalk that up to opportunity and exposure - it still reads awkward.

    Your best bet is to contact the test-maker. It may be a dialect variation that's still in its descriptive stage, having not yet reached acceptance. See bartleby.com, "The Bay Bridge is still closed, so that the drive . . . . "

    All the best.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 19-Apr-2006 at 06:23.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    The problem is, A) "so that" isn't a 'viable' choice in that particular context. I'm not sure why that is, yet.
    Your best bet is to contact the test-maker. It may be a dialect variation that's still in its descriptive stage, having not yet reached acceptance. See bartleby.com, "The Bay Bridge is still closed, so that the drive . . . . "
    All the best.
    Do you think the test board can come up with a reasonable explanation as to why "so that" would not be a viable choice?

  10. #30
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Probably not- we haven't and we have been trying. They might try a blanket rule about 'so that' doesn't work with results, which you have shown is not an absolute rule.

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