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I was taught that subordinate conjunctions are used to link a dependent clause to an independent one.

This example was given recently in an English Grammar website and now I am confused:

"It is so cold outside, so I brought you a jacket"

Why is SO (subordinate conj.) being used, when the second clause "I brought you a jacket" is clearly an independent clause?

Only when the conjunction is added to it, does it become dependent. Surely then, that is missing the point?

Looking forward to your clarification on this. Thank you in advance

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  • To avoid comma splice. :) Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 12:44
  • [...] "so I brought you a jacket" is not an independent clause precisely because of the conjunction....
    – Lambie
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:45

1 Answer 1

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"So" is often classed as a "coordinating conjunction" which joins two independent clauses. It is the "S" in the acronym "FANBOYS"

"So that" is a subordinating conjunction.

He brought a coat so that she wouldn't be cold.

"she wouldn't be cold" is subordinate to "He brought a coat". It has a subject and a verb, but doesn't stand alone as an independent idea (This is a semantic fact, not a grammatical fact)

You could have said that same sentence without the word "that"

He brought a coat so she wouldn't be cold.

Here is possible to argue that "so" is acting as a subordinating conjunction.

On the other, your example shows "so" being used to link two independent clauses as a coordinating conjunction.

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  • "He studies hard so that he may pass." Here, "he may pass" is subordinate to "He studies hard". I can say the same sentence without the word 'so' : "He studies hard that he may pass'. But can I do this without the word 'that'? Commented May 3, 2020 at 10:42
  • @SandipKumarMandal He studies hard that he may pass. is not grammatical in contemporary English. that is misused.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 20:47
  • "We read that we may learn." (that = in order that). Commented May 15, 2020 at 3:23
  • So that = so = that = in order that Commented May 15, 2020 at 3:26

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