Sometimes using the easiest and simple words can be confusing and for ESL learners. As an illustration, ‘its, it’s, so’ etc. One of the most common and short words which has a lot of meanings and usages is ‘So’. The word ‘So’ is used a lot meanwhile speaking. Therefore, it’s important to know the usages of it. Scroll down and learn about the usages of so.
Usages of So
So can be used in the following ways:
1. As an adverb (followed by an adjective or another adverb):
- Why are you so angry this morning?
- It all happened so quickly.
2. (With a verb):
- We were so looking forward to meeting your family.
3. (Followed by an auxiliary or modal verb and then its subject):
- ‘I’m hungry.’ ‘So am I.’
4. (Followed by an adjective and ‘a’ or ‘an’ and a singular countable noun):
- The garden seemed small for so large a house.
5. As a conjunction (connecting two clauses):
- There weren’t enough beds, so I had to sleep on the floor.
6. As a way of starting a new sentence:
- So, when do you start your new job?
7. In the conjunction phrase “so that”:
- He was standing in the shadow so that I could not see his face clearly.
Note: When “so” is used as a conjunction:
It means “therefore”.
It is preceded by a comma.
It comes in the result clause.
- I was very sick, so I went to see a doctor.
In this case the result clause cannot be brought first or in other words it cannot start the sentence.
- So I went to see a doctor I was very sick. (Incorrect)
Remember: when “so” is followed by “that”, it means in order to
- I have decided to join an IHLP class at Learn ESL so (that) I can improve my English.
- I study hard all the time so (that) I can get the first position in my class.
8. Such as/For example/For instance/E.g.
- I have been to many countries. I have been to the USA, India, UK, and Mexico.
- I have been to many countries, such as the USA, India, UK, and Mexico.
Each phrase can be used within a sentence when it is followed by a list of items which elaborate on or show examples for the main idea of the sentence. Here are
- I can play quite a few musical instruments, for example, the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
- I can play quite a few musical instruments, for instance, the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
- I can play quite a few musical instruments, e.g., the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
- I can play quite a few musical instruments, such as the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
Look at the last sentence with such as. Do you see anything different with this sentence as compared to the first three? Such as does NOT have a comma after it; the first three phrases have commas before and after them.
The phrase such as can be used in the middle of a sentence without any commas. Take a look at this:
- Car companies such as Toyota and Ford manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world.
You may be wondering why there are no commas. The answer is simple: the words after such as are necessary and essential to the meaning of the sentence. If you take out those words, the meaning will change. Let’s take out such as:
- Car companies manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world.
What does this sentence mean? It could mean ALL car companies manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world. This is not true because some companies produce their cars in just one or two countries. Therefore, the phrase such as Toyota and Ford is necessary. If these words are
necessary, do not use commas.
Conclusion: I hope the lesson was helpful. Please feel free to write your feedback about the lesson in the comment box below.