1. Just as the nation-state is a modern phenomenon, so is the explosive increase of the human population.

  2. As Lenin claimed, Marxism is strong insofar as it is true.

I would like to ask why in the first sentence the pronoun "it" is omitted ("so [it] is the explosive…") whereas in the second one is used ("insofar it is true"). In the first example "it" would represent "modern phenomenon" as in the second one "it" represents "Marxism".

  • "Just as the nation-state is a modern phenomenon, so it is the explosive increase of the human population." - Don't you think the meaning has changed?
    – Varun Nair
    May 24, 2016 at 13:07
  • 1
    It's not omitted in the first sentence, it's not needed. The second sentence would sound better with as after insofar. May 24, 2016 at 13:11
  • 1
    The first sentence is talking about two different modern phenomena: nation states, and population growth. Adding "it" would change the meaning, or, rather, change things such the sentence no longer makes sense.
    – nnnnnn
    May 24, 2016 at 13:18
  • Hint: if you remove the Just as or the As clause from the two sentences, you will see that the first sentence has one verb, but the second sentence has two. Also notes that it should be insofar as, not just insofar. May 24, 2016 at 13:37
  • 1
    The first sentence is bordering on the malformed. A too would help to clarify the meaning. "Just as the nation-state is a modern phenomenon, so, too, is the explosive increase ..." May 24, 2016 at 14:04

3 Answers 3


Oxford Online Dictionary classifies "so" as an "adverb". However, if you read the linked ELU question, So do I ( what word type is “so” functioning as?, you will notice that there are different opinions.

No matter what it is called, its primary function is not to repeat what is said before the word.

A: I love you.

B: I love you, too.

You can say "So do I" in place of "I love you, too" as "(do) so" refers to "love".

You example sentence could be rephrased to:

Just as the nation-state is a modern phenomenon, the explosive increase of the human population is a modern phenomenon, too.

You don't need to repeat "a modern phenomenon" as it is repeated. "So" could replace it as long as it is inverted and placed at the beginning of the clause. The subject of the second clause is not a modern phenomenon.

You can read my answer to this question, the usage of 'so' in ' it does so very slowly'' if you are interested in learning how "so" works in different ways.


The sentences are different because so and insofar as are different types of word. So is a proform adverb. In sentence (1) it means a modern phenomenon. When this type of so is moved to the front of the clause, we have to change the position of the Subject and the auxiliary:

  • Mary is hungry. So is my elephant.

In the example above so means hungry. The second sentence means My elephant is hungry too. We can see that the Subject my elephant and the auxiliary verb is have changed places.

Here is the Original Poster's first sentence:

  • Just as the nation-state is a modern phenomenon, so is the explosive increase in the human population.

The proform so in this sentence means a modern phenomenon. The subject of the second clause there is the explosive increase in the human population, but it appears after and not before the auxiliary verb. We do not need a second Subject, it, here. We already have one!

The second example is completely different:

  • ... Marxism is strong insofar as it is true.

Here the phrase insofar as can be analysed as a compound preposition. It takes as a Complement a declarative clause. In the sentence the pronoun it refers to Marxism. It comes before the verb is because there is no special reason to move it from the normal Subject position. We cannot drop it because every tensed verb in English must have a Subject.


The first sentence is a common expression to say "me too", or more generally, to convey the similarities between two entities (persons often, but not only as can be seen in your example. Let me be more clear :

I'm so hungry !

-So am I ! (Me too)

-So is he ! (Him too)

Etc. Hence, the first sentence didn't really omit "it", as it wouldn't have had the same meaning (and wouldn't have been correct syntaxically after that first proposition).

What puzzles me is that your English skills don't seem to be bad as you can use constructions with "would" or "whereas", but don't seem to have seen that basic English point. Interesting !

  • Thank you for your both appreciation and degradation of my language skills. May be this question of mine was not from the rank of the brightest ones. But sometimes I get stuck in the elementary grammar problem.
    – bart-leby
    May 24, 2016 at 13:56
  • Shouldn't it be "maybe"?
    – Victor B.
    May 24, 2016 at 20:18

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