I really wonder if I express "so-called" in a sentence, can I also use "called" for the same way?

For example:

The new technique so-called "blablabla" is to consume a lot of energy.

Can I write like:

The new technique called "blablabla" is to consume a lot of energy.

1 Answer 1


First of all, so-called cannot be used as a verb, as in your first example; it is an adjective.

Secondly, so-called is used for two possible meanings: first, to give a "popular name" for a thing that has a different "proper name", such as

the so-called 'splat' character (that is, the asterisk: *)

Or it can be used to indicate that you are going to refer to something with a name that you think is actually an improper or invalid name:

my so-called friend just told the teacher I cheated.

(You are referring to someone as a friend, but the use of "so-called" indicates that you think that their behavior demonstrates that they aren't really your friend.)

Thus you should not write your sentence with "so-called" at all. Use "called" to inform people of the proper name of the technique.

  • So-called would be correct in that phrase is it ran something like "This so-called "Extra-Green-Savings-Propulsions(tm)" technique will actually consume a lot of energy." But I admit that is stretching it :P
    – oerkelens
    Feb 13, 2014 at 9:58
  • I think the unifying feature is that "so-called" puts what the thing is called slightly at arms length. The meaning is held between thumb and forefinger rather than being adopted. Mar 25, 2017 at 8:06

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