I came across the following sentence in a book:

She could barely keep up with the gas station attendant's directions, he jabbered so.

According to the book, the sentence means that the woman couldn't keep up with the man's directions that he jabbered.

What I do not understand is why the word so is present there. What kind of construct is used in this sentence? Is this construct a formal one?

I would be grateful if you could help me with this question.


So here is an adverb meaning “to such a great degree, so much”; see the first entry at OALD (a reliable and useful dictionary I recommend to your attention).

In constructions of this sort, the clause with so or such provides a cause for the previous clause. It is the inversion of a sentence in which the clause with so or such is the main clause, and the main clause is the complement of so or such:

[He jabbered *so much*] [that] [she could barely keep up with his directions].
         ↓                            ↓
                                      ↓                 ↓
[She could barely keep up with his directions], [he jabbered *so much*]. 

It is a literary rather than a formal construction. Two or three generations ago it was colloquial, but it is not much used today, at least in the US.

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