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# Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that"

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Intern
Joined: 04 Aug 2010
Posts: 38
Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2011, 09:21
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Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable at first from ordinary fluctuations in the financial markets

* so gradual as to be indistinguishable
* so gradual that they can be indistinguishable
* so gradual that they are unable to be distinguished
* gradual enough not to be distinguishable
* gradual enough so that one cannot distinguish them

Experts could you explain why option B is wrong? Is construction "so..as to" preferred over "so..that"?
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 126
Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2011, 10:59
Can you post where this question is from? Sometimes there are copyright restrictions that prohibit us from answering, so we need to know the source of the material.
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JP Park | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Los Angeles

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Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2011, 11:01
parker wrote:
Can you post where this question is from? Sometimes there are copyright restrictions that prohibit us from answering, so we need to know the source of the material.

Hi Parker,

This is GMATPrep Question.
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 1025
Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink]

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25 Oct 2011, 20:26
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“So as to” vs. “so that” is a “red-herring” split here. In other words, either form is fine. The GMAT has gone back and forth on "so as to" (see Ch. 9 of our SC book), but you wouldn't want to eliminate on this basis alone.

In any case, the idiom “so as to” will generally have an intervening term: “So X as to Y.”

The award-winning pumpkin was so large as to require a special scale.

Note that the odd form of this idiom puts "require" in the present tense. Its size was large enough to cause this requirement.

We can also use “so that” with a more straightforward construction:

The award-winning pumpkin was so large that it required a special scale.

In the case of the posted problem, the difficulty with B has nothing to do with "so as to" vs. "so that"--it's the word “can.” We want to say that the changes actually are indistinguishable, not that they *can* be indistinguishable. This is a great example of the kind of meaning-based difference that can catch you if you are only focused on grammar rules. Beware!
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Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Operations
GRE 1: 330 Q168 V162
Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that" [#permalink]

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28 May 2016, 05:03
For this particular question, it's not an issue of 'so as to' vs 'so that' as much as it is the fact that the 2nd option tilts more towards possibility than certainty
Re: Correct Usage of "so..as to" and "so..that"   [#permalink] 28 May 2016, 05:03
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