I teach ESL to adults. What are the "rules" for using "so"?
Good morning, Ken.
(1) "So" is one of my favorite words, so may I share some ideas?
(a) I have just used it as a coordinating conjunction.
(b) Americans use it that way a lot.
(2) I am going early so I can get a good seat.
(a) Many strict teachers require "so that" -- subordinating conjunction of purpose.
(3) I went early yesterday, so I got a good seat.
(a) Many strict teachers require "so that" -- subordinating conjunction of result.
(4) SUPER strict teachers (there may be a few left) say that "so"
is not a conjunction. Only an adverb. Thus they require:
(a) I was sick yesterday; so I didn't go to work.
(b) I was sick yesterday. So I didn't go to work.
(c) Of course, I would guess that 99% of people would write:
I was sick yesterday, so I didn't go to work. (coordinating conjunction)
That is probably the best thing to teach ESL students (and native speakers, too).
Have a nice day!
Of course, "so" is not always a coordinating conjunction.
(a) I was SO tired (THAT I couldn't keep my eyes open).
(i) "So" is an adverb that modifies "tired."
(ii) "that I couldn't keep my eyes open" is an adverb clause that modifies "so."
Will Tom come?
I think so.
(a) "So" = a noun clause (that Tom will come).