so that



From Middle English so that, so þat, sa þat, swo þat, swa þat, from Old English swā þæt, equivalent to so +‎ that. Cognate with Saterland Frisian sodät, West Frisian sadat, Dutch zodat, German sodaß, sodass.


so that

  1. Indicates purpose; in order that, with the result that.
    He must die so that others might live.
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf's head from its body, so that it immediately died.
  2. Indicates purpose; in such a way that, with the intent that.
    He tied a complex knot so that others would find it hard to undo.

Usage notesEdit

  • “So that” prefaces a subordinate clause to show purpose or to give an explanation. It demonstrates a correlation between an antecedent action and an intended consequent. In a clause 1 “so that” clause2 format, the first clause represents an antecedent proposition and the second clause constitutes a consequence/effect. In a “So that” clause 1 [comma], clause 2 format, the first clause is the intended consequent and the second clause is the antecedent proposition.


Related termsEdit



  • so that at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • so that in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.