Is the so in this example incorrect or superfluous?

I was thinking about the example of so with do:

He asked me to send him money; I did (so).

I wondered whether so could be used similarly in my warriors example. Is it super formal, or have I not got it quite correct? Is the so in my example an anaphora?

  • The idiom is do so (and the "so" is usually optional). be so in this sense hardly exists. – Colin Fine Jan 27 '20 at 20:19

The so can be considered redundant as it would usually be assumed that what should come after did is "send him that money" in your example.

You can include it for emphasis. One implication created by including the so that may not exist without it is that you complied with a request or order, which itself implies you didn't really want to do it but felt you had to.

  • I think th eactualt question is about He is fierce, as were warriors (so). You seem to be saying that He is fierce, as were warriors so is grammatical. If you do indeed mean to imply that, I strongly oppose that notion. – oerkelens Mar 16 '17 at 15:10
  • "So" used in this way pretty much means "like that" with that referring to something earlier in the sentence or context. It's technically correct/grammatical I think, but redundant, and in "He is fierce, as were warriors" there is no good reason for the redundancy as so would refer to fierce - and there's little effort saved or clarity gained in not repeating fierce twice or simply omitting it. – LawrenceC Mar 16 '17 at 16:26
  • Also, one might say: He asked me to send him money; So I did. – Lambie Feb 6 '18 at 17:51

The question is unclear.

The verbal phrases "do so" and "did so" always refer to an antecedent verb. The "so" is seldom, if ever, required grammaticaly, but it may be used in certain circumstances, e.g., to give emphasis. I do not agree that it neccesarily indicates reluctance.

When, after so many years, we were finally free to marry, we did so immediately

is not to be read as an unwelcome marriage.

It is particularly helpful to use "so" when the antecedent verb referred to is qualified and it is intended to indicate that the qualifications will be or have been met.

He suggested that we order the needed parts from a supplier who could guarantee consistent quality and prompt delivery. We did so.

In the example above, the "did so" indicates that not only did we order the needed parts, but we ordered them from a supplier of the type suggested.

Your example related to "fierce" is not grammatical. The use of "so" with adjectives (and adverbs) is a bit complex.

He was as fierce as the warriors

is a comparative indicating equivalence. He is neither more nor less fierce than the warriors.

When negating such an equivalence, many would use, and some would require the use of, "so":

He was not so fierce as the warriors


He was less fierce than the warriors.

Furthermore, "so" can indicate a causative relation

He was so fierce that the warriors fled.


Are you only talking about him? Then it should be

He was as fierce as a warrior.

or, less formally

He was fierce, like a warrior.

If you are talking about him and a concrete group of warriors, you're looking for

He was fierce and so were the warriors.

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