*So that vs So…that

Adverbs

So that and so…that are two different, though similar constructions which express different things. It is important to note the difference between them and not confuse them.

So that is an adverb clause of result and is used to highlight the consequence of an action or purpose. In this case these two words remain together.

When “so” is combined with an adjective and optionally “that“, it shows extremes which lead to certain results. In this case “so” is separated from “that in the sentence.

The form for So that is as follows:
Sentence 1 (subject+ verb) + so that + sentence 2 (subject+verb).

The form for so… that is as follows:
Sentence 1 (subject + verb) + so + adjective/adverb + that  + sentence 2 (subject+verb).

So that:

  • I am going to special classes so that I will become a good IT guy.
  • He is saving money so that he can buy a new laptop.
  • I asked my mom to watch the kids so that we can go to the cinema.

So…that:

  • Those PC’s had so many viruses that they couldn’t use them.
  • My grandfather is so short that I have to reach the top shelves for him.
  • The car was going so fast that I thought we were going to die.

We usually use So that to talk about a purpose or a result of an action or situation. In this use “that can be ommitted, using only “so to express the purpose or result of an action. The construction links two sentences, where the second sentence expresses the result or purpose of the first.

We use so…that to create a comparison between two things. It is then used with an adjective or an adverb. “So and “that are separated by the adjective/adverb and the whole expression creates a comparison in order to underline the meaning of the adjective/adverb.

We use the adverb clause of result So that to highlight the consequence of an action or purpose:
Sentence 1 (subject+ verb) + so that + (modal verb) + sentence 2 (subject+verb) (e.g. I will save some money so that I can go to holiday.).

We use so…that to create a comparison with an adjective or adverb:
Sentence 1 (subject+ verb) + so  + adjective/adverb + that + sentence 2 (subject+verb) (e.g. This dress is so beautiful that I will do anything to buy it.).

For example:
— “I will save some money so that I can go to holiday.” = It highlights the consequence of the purpose (the money is necessary to go on holiday).
— “This dress is so beautiful that I will do anything to buy it.” = It highlights the importance of the adjective (the beauty of the dress makes me want to buy it).

NOTE: “So that” is often used with modal verbs and we sometimes omit the “that” when we use this clause orally and “so” is used alone before an adverb or an adjective.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.