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"So that" usage

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"So that" usage [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 12:00
Dear mikemcgarry & RonPurewal

I have a big confusion about using the construction 'clause + so that + clause'. As far as I know from Magoosh and English grammar books, it follow the:

Action + so that + Purpose

Effect + so that + cause

Is there any exceptions of the rule above for cited construction? I do not focus on "so + adj/adv + that". I tried to understand the following sentences from topic about "Desertification" but I can't see that they follow the rule above:

The gradual drying of the soil caused by its diminished ability to absorb water results in the further loss of vegetation, so that a cycle of progressive surface deterioration is established.

The gradual drying of the soil caused by its diminished ability to absorb water results in the further loss of vegetation, so that a cycle of progressive surface deterioration is established.

The increased pressures of expanding populations have led to the removal of woody plants so that many cities and towns are surrounded by large areas completely lacking in trees and shrubs.

In last sentence specially, is it logic to say that the cause of ' lack of trees in cities' results in 'pressure to remove woody plants' ? I feel it is vice versed. It is that removal of woody plants led to the effect of lacking tress in cities?

Thanks for help

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"So that" usage [#permalink]

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Mo2men wrote:
Dear mikemcgarry & RonPurewal

I have a big confusion about using the construction 'clause + so that + clause'. As far as I know from Magoosh and English grammar books, it follow the:

Action + so that + Purpose

Effect + so that + cause

Is there any exceptions of the rule above for cited construction? I do not focus on "so + adj/adv + that". I tried to understand the following sentences from topic about "Desertification" but I can't see that they follow the rule above:

The gradual drying of the soil caused by its diminished ability to absorb water results in the further loss of vegetation, so that a cycle of progressive surface deterioration is established.

The gradual drying of the soil caused by its diminished ability to absorb water results in the further loss of vegetation, so that a cycle of progressive surface deterioration is established.

The increased pressures of expanding populations have led to the removal of woody plants so that many cities and towns are surrounded by large areas completely lacking in trees and shrubs.

In last sentence specially, is it logic to say that the cause of ' lack of trees in cities' results in 'pressure to remove woody plants' ? I feel it is vice versed. It is that removal of woody plants led to the effect of lacking tress in cities?

Thanks for help

Dear Mo2men,

My friend, I'm happy to respond. :-)

First, I'll recommend this blog:
GMAT Idioms: Cause and Consequence

I agree with your first formulation (Action + so that + Purpose) but something doesn't feel right at all about the second formulation (Effect + so that + cause)--I would say it's something more along the lines of Cause + so that + effect.

I call the so that and so [adjective] that idioms "clause of consequence," because what follows the "that" is typically the consequence of an action or decision. Often, at least with human actors, these clause carry the connotation that the consequence was an intended one--that's why a consequence, a result, can also be a purpose.

In these sentences about desertification, there's no human actor, no conscious intention, so what follows the "so that" is purely a consequence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: "So that" usage [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2017, 03:29
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Hi —

Quote:
Action + so that + Purpose

^^ This is fundamentally accurate.

Quote:
Effect + so that + cause

^^ This is exactly backward. If you reverse "cause" and "effect", this will also be a fundamentally accurate representation.
(Remember, one meaning of the word "so" is, essentially, equivalent to "therefore".)


MORE IMPORTANTLY, though —
Remember that it's ALWAYS better to memorize EXAMPLES, NOT RULES!

This is just the way the human mind works. For instance, consider your understanding of what it means to be "rude".
If I were to ask you, "What constitutes rude behavior in your culture/country/social circle?" ... then you DEFINITELY WOULDN'T give me "rules" (and you almost certainly wouldn't be able to formulate such rules, even if you were asked to!).
Instead, you would just throw a bunch of EXAMPLES at me ... until I'd gathered a sufficient conceptual understanding from the aggregate of those examples, together.

You should absorb SC concepts in the same way.
•••IF NECESSARY••• you can START with a "rule" — but you should replace any "rules" with EXAMPLES as soon as you can.
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Re: "So that" usage   [#permalink] 09 Nov 2017, 03:29
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