Please help me to resolve this issue. Which one is correct: “if you so wish” or “if you wish so”? Is there a rule for this?

2 Answers 2


The normal phrase is If you so wish, but you should regard this as an idiom, because it has an archaic structure.

The only other phrase I can think of that uses so before the verb with that meaning is It was/will be so agreed.

In any other case, to use "so" in the sense of "what was stated before", put it after the verb: I think so. He did so.

Having said that, If you wish so is not idiomatic, and I'm not sure why. I think it may be that so (with that meaning) can only follow certain verbs: be, do, think, believe, say. But I'm not certain about that explanation.

With other verbs, you can sometimes use it/them so as the object: (eg Make it so!), and that is how you would manage it in this case: If you wish it so is pretty formal, but not unidiomatic.

  • @Jaime: are there? I couldn't think of another. So in that position is usually an intensifier, not a resumptive pronoun.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 17 at 13:46
  • To be clear, there are plenty of other closely related phrases that can use that 'so' before the verb structure (they're not always pretty): - "The service shall be provided immediately upon the company so demanding" (in a contract) - "The person so sentenced must to attend at the location of the community service so imposed at the date and time that the police so stipulate." (in a judicial decision) - Q "Will you be at the clifftop at sunset?" A "If you so desire." (in a fantasy story)
    – Jaime
    Mar 17 at 13:49
  • Sorry about deleting the first comment. I got distracted by another issue and had to start again.
    – Jaime
    Mar 17 at 14:13
  • The first of those is so before a participle, not a finite verb, and I'll allow it has more currency in that context. I don't think you'd find the company so demands. The second one, I'll give you (though I was distracted by the first two "so's" in the sentence which have a different meaning).
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 17 at 14:45
  • The meanings are all closely related.
    – Jaime
    Mar 17 at 15:03

The correct option is "If you so wish", which can be interpreted as "If you wish it to be so".

"If you wish it so" is another possibility; or even "If you wish", but "If you wish so" would just be incomprehensible, I'm afraid.

It's not an idiomatic expression, though ... nor should its structure be considered archaic.

It does, however, sound a little formal, and perhaps a little quaint.

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