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What does "was so that" mean in the following sentence,

The reason for coconuts was so that we would all have something to eat. (source: Shadow and the coconut caper written by Richard Hays)

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Does it mean "The reason for coconuts was so much that we would all have something to eat" or "The reason for coconuts was much so that we would all have something to eat"?

Where did the adjective that should be between 'so' and 'that' disappear? (be so+adjective+that---> be so that)

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    The reason for what with coconuts? The issue of was so that aside, there's an important semantic component of the sentence that's missing. (Is it explained in the sentences that come before what you quoted?) The sentence essentially means We (did whatever with) the coconuts (and not with something else) in order to have something to eat. Nov 6, 2018 at 2:56
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    @JasonBassford Is it possible to parse it as : "[The reason for coconuts was so] [that we would all have something to eat. ], where "so" is used as an adverb as In "I think so"?
    – dan
    Nov 6, 2018 at 5:36
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    @dan No, you've just restated my confusion. The reason for (chopping down / collecting / selling / the existence of) coconuts . . .? It's not about parsing—although I think I rephrased it accurately in my first comment—it's about understanding the missing context. Nov 6, 2018 at 5:49
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    @JasonBassford maybe, "that we would all have something to eat" could be "the reason for coconuts"? Does it make a bit sense?
    – dan
    Nov 6, 2018 at 6:20
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    @dan Still no. The reason for coconuts to exist? (The universe wants us to eat?) Nov 6, 2018 at 6:22

1 Answer 1

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This use of "so" is similar to "therefore". In context, it means "to allow".

This use of "so" is a conjunction, not an adverb.

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  • If so, what is the difference in the meaning between "The reason for coconuts was so that we would all have something to eat" and "The reason for coconuts was that we would all have something to eat" and "The reason for coconuts was so we would all have something to eat"? Does "the reason for coconuts was so that we would all have something to eat" mean "the reason for coconuts was that we would all have something to eat"?
    – user22046
    Nov 6, 2018 at 0:42
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    @user22046 Yes, they are the same: so that is in this case a synonym of that, but specifically for giving purpose. Nov 7, 2018 at 13:38

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