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Thread: so (that)

  1. #31
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    Do you think the test board can come up with a reasonable explanation as to why "so that" would not be a viable choice?
    Well, I don't know anyone on the test board, curious.

    Here's what I would say - starting with "so". It's a co-ordinating conjunction; it connects two events that occur at the same time - similar to during.

    EX: I didn't have enough money on me, so I couldnt buy the tickets.

    "so that" is a subordinating conjunction; it introduces the last event of a sequence of events that occur in a progression of time. In other words, the events unfold in time, which is why "so that" is interpreted as introducing a result or consequence clause.

    [1] Many contestants later failed drug tests, so that the race had to be rerun.

    - The contestants took the drug test. (It took time to get the results)
    - They later failed the test.
    - As a result, the race had to be rerun.

    [2] Renowned as a quick study, he learned stagecraft from the older actors around him, carefully absorbing everything they told him about acting, so that he was a veteran by the time . . .

    - He absorded everything around him. (It took time to learn)
    - As a result, he became/was a veteran by the time . . .

    [3] The General behaved quite nicely, and really got into the spirit of the thing, so that he was a splendid example for the head of the class.

    - He really got into the spirit of things. (it took time)
    - As a result, he [turned out] to be a splendid example.

    [4] But there were a number of younger boys in the room who enjoyed it all very much, so that he was a real hero, and felt himself quite a favorite.

    - The boys [ended up] enjoying it all. (it took time)
    - As a result, he was a real hero.

    [5] . . . , so that women are now coming . . .

    - Setting up the clinics took time.

    Now, for our test question,

    [6] He realized that the world could run out of key resources, *so that he was a harsh critic . . .

    What progressive event connects these two: realized and was? Both take place in the past, as do the verbs in our other examples, but they all house a progression, whereas the test example does not.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 20-Apr-2006 at 08:50.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Thanks all.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: so (that)

    You're welcome, curious. Let us know how it all turns out.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Sure.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: so (that)


  6. #36
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: so (that)

    At risk of doing a Columbo...

    Is #6 so different from #3?

    [3] The General behaved quite nicely, and really got into the spirit of the thing, so that he was a splendid example for the head of the class.
    - He really got into the spirit of things. (it took time)
    - As a result, he [turned out] to be a splendid example.

    [6] He realized that the world could run out of key resources, *so that he was a harsh critic . . .
    - He realized the world could run out of key resources. (It took time to think about it, reach a conclusion, etc.)
    - As a result, he [turned out] to be a harsh critic.

    My own feeling is that the "so that" clause in #6 appears to subordinate itself to the reporting clause, though it really belongs with "he realized". So unless we know what's ahead, we're sent down the wrong track.

    The odd thing is that "and so" seems to be more capable of expressing a sense that what follows is the speaker's opinion; you can use it when you're simply surmising. Whereas "so that" seems to require a less subjective connection.

    (He realized that the forum would shortly run out of patience and start lobbing rotten eggs, so that he beat a hasty retreat.)

    MrP

  7. #37
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    Default Re: so (that)

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic
    [6] He realized that the world could run out of key resources, *so that he was a harsh critic . . .
    - He realized the world could run out of key resources. (It took time to think about it, reach a conclusion, etc.)
    - As a result, he [turned out] to be a harsh critic.

    My own feeling is that the "so that" clause in #6 appears to subordinate itself to the reporting clause, . . . . So unless we know what's ahead, we're sent down the wrong track.
    Right. In [6] "so that" sends us 'down the wrong track.' It subordinates itself to the closest clause:

    ?He realized that the world could run out of key resources, so that he was a harsh critic . . .
    => ?The world running out of key resources lead to his being a harsh critic. But note the difference in meaning here:

    the world running out vs. the world could run out.

    Cf. He realized that the forum would shortly run out of patience and [they might] start lobbing rotten eggs, so that he beat a hasty retreat.
    => They might start lobbing rotten eggs lead to his beating a hasty retreat.

    In short, "so that" attaches itself to the nearest clause.

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