1. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    Punctuation before "so that"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by yokone, Mar 20, 2013.

    Hi,

    Should I put a comma before "so that" as we do before "so", or no punctuation is required?

    Thanks
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    We put a comma when using "so" as a conjunction for result, but not when we use "so" or "so that" for purpose or intended effect, e.g.

    It was very dark in the room, so he could not read. (comma before "so" between 2 full clauses: result)
    The carpet was a good price, so they could afford it. (ditto)

    He turned up the volume so/so that he could hear. (no comma: purpose)
    She pretended to read the newspaper so/so that he wouldn't talk to her. (no comma: effect)
     
  3. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    Thank you very much. What I knew was we should have always used comma before "so", what I learned from your post is a new thing for me. Thanks.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't know that's a rule, may only be an optional matter of style...

    madhoca...
    if there's an ironclad rule governing your statement, i'd appreciate knowing what authoritative source/s you rely on for this issue, as i would say it's optional, depending on whether a pause is desired, or not... i'm not too old to learn something, even at 74... :rolleyes:
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the authority was Jeremy Harmer, The Practice of the English Language, because this is a book I've often used for teaching. I've seen it in other English language text books also. It probably isn't an iron-clad rule, though. ESL teachers tend to get way too didactic, giving a "rule" that generally works and it used widely (and covers a point that is tested for a certain accepted "right" answer in exams). It simplifies matters and reassures English language learners. Sorry about that!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks for the clarification...
     

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