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The accepted idiom is ‘so that’ as in C. 'So as to' can be used only when you say 'so adjective as to' (so beautiful as to, so dangerous as to). In order that, in order for and for the purpose are all wrong diction
C is the best answer.
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher” – a Japanese proverb. 9884544509
I was down to C and E. Though C seemed good, I chose E as i was not able to relate "they" in C. It can point to either factory outlets ormanufacturers . Please advice.
Factory outlet stores, operated by manufacturers, are usually located miles from downtown and regional shopping centers so as not directly to be competitive against [highlight]department stores[/highlight] in the same trading area.
Please see the highlighted non-underlined portion of the sentence - "department stores".
Only stores can compete with each other. Manufacturers can't compete with department stores.
Thus, "they" has only one LOGICAL antecedent, Factory outlet stores, and is used properly as pronoun.
Couple of issues to point out here for the correct option (C)
1. So that = Shows Purpose
Factory outlet stores , operated by manufacturers , are usually located miles from downtown and regional shopping centres so that ( purpose ) they do not compete directly with departmental stores in the same trading area.
2. Use of correct idiomatic use : Compete with
3. Correct use of pronoun they : referring to factory outlet stores.
4. Correct S-V usage : Factory outlet stores----- are
Hence I will go with (C) without any grain of doubt !! _________________