Are there any differences (general or regional differences) between "in order to", "so that" and "so as to"?
I've seen that they may be interchangeable, but I'm not so sure.
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Google Ngrams gives, for American English (red = so that, blue = in order to, orange = so as to):
and for British English:
Doesn't look like there is much of a difference between American and British English in that matter.
verb1 + to +
verb2 has simple, direct relationship (usually a purpose) with
I bought a coke to drink.
verb1 so as to
verb2 is a resulting action one hopes to get from verb1. Therefore,
verb2 may not directly related in common understanding.
I work hard in order to save money for a vacation this year.
In order to is a formal way of saying so as to.