In this week´s blog I am going to speak about the word ‘so’. The reason I am going to talk about this small word is because it can be used in many ways. Words like ‘so’ can cause a lot of confusion for English language students because there are such a lot of ways in which you can use it.
 

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Look at this sentence: “It was raining, so I took my umbrella and wore a raincoat”. In this sentence the word so means therefore or consequently. Rather than using the words ‘therefore’ or ‘consequently’, we can use the word ‘so’. Another example of this is in the sentence “I failed my exam, so I have to take it again”. This is the same as saying “I failed my exam, therefore (consequently) I have to take it again”.

We can also use the word ‘so’ in the expression “so that” with the meaning of “in order that”. For example “I always leave very early, so that I am never late”. This means the same as “I always leave very early in order that I never arrive late”. You could also say “I will put the heating on timer, so that the house will be warm when we get home”. This means that you will put the heating on timer in order that the house will be warm by the time you arrive home.

If you use the expression “so as to” it means “in order to”. In the sentence “I am studying hard every day, so as to get high marks in my examination”, it means that you are studying hard every day, in order to get high marks in your examination. Another example of this is to say “I always wear a thick coat in winter, so as to keep warm”, which means that you always wear a thick coat in winter, in order to keep warm.

Look at this sentence: “I went to the supermarket and bought some bread, milk, cheese and so on”. In this sentence the expression “and so on” means “etc”. It means that there are other items on this list that you won´t bother mentioning. Another example of this is to say “Firstly, John should do it, then Lisa and so on”, which means that John should go first, then Lisa and then the rest of the people.
 

When we say that there are “so many” things, it means that there is such a large number of things. For example “There were so many people at the party, that I couldn´t find my friend”. This means that due to the large number of people at the party, I couldn´t find my friend. If the noun is uncountable, we use the expression “so much”. For example “I have so much time on my hands that I think I will take it easy today”. This means that because you have plenty of time, you will relax today.

When you say “so far”, it means “until now”. In the sentence “there have been no problems so far”, it means that until now there haven´t been any problems. If I say “the weather has been good so far”, it means that until now or up to this point, the weather has been good.
 

The expression “so far as I know” means the same as “as regards my knowledge of the situation”. For example “so far as I know, he hasn´t made any contact with the company”. This means as regards my knowledge of the situation, he hasn´t contacted the company. Another example of this use of the word so is to say “so far as he knows, they arrived on time”, which means as regards his knowledge of the situation, they have arrived on time.

From reading this blog you should find it easier to understand some of the uses of the word “so”. Next month we will have a look at some more of its uses.
 

G. Harman
 

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