so - definition and synonyms

adverb, conjunction 

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So can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb (followed by an adjective or another adverb): Why are you so angry this morning?It all happened so quickly. (with a verb): We were so looking forward to meeting your family. (followed by an auxiliary or modal verb and then its subject): ‘I’m hungry.’ ‘So am I.’ (followed by an adjective and ‘a’ or ‘an’ and a singular countable noun): The garden seemed small for so large a house.
as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): There weren’t enough beds, so I had to sleep on the floor.
as a way of starting a new sentence: So, when do you start your new job?
in the conjunction phrase so that: He was standing in the shadow so that I could not see his face clearly.
  1. 1
    used for emphasis
    1. a.
      used for emphasizing a quality, feeling, or amount

      I’m so glad you could come.

      Thank you for looking after me so well.

      The food’s wonderful, but it’s so expensive!

      so much/many:

      Like so many great artists, he died young.

    2. b.
      used when you are emphasizing a fact by saying what the result of it is

      The children couldn’t sleep, they were so excited.


      The road surface became so hot that it melted.

      Everything’s changed so much I can scarcely recognize the place. to be:

      His comments on the book were so childish as to be not worth considering.

    3. c.
      used for saying that someone does something a lot or feels something strongly
      so love/enjoy/appreciate etc:

      She so loved watching the children play.

      worry/suffer etc so:

      You shouldn’t worry so. Nothing’s going to happen to us.

    4. d.
  2. 2
    used instead of repeating what has just been said
    1. a.
      used for referring back to a possibility, fact, or situation that has just been mentioned
      I think/suppose/expect/hope etc so:

      You’re in love with Rita, aren’t you? I thought so.

      ‘You’re not really going to resign?’ ‘No, I don’t suppose so.’

      say so/tell someone so:

      If you wanted to leave early, you should have said so.

      so they say/so they tell me/so I understand:

      I’m a quick learner. Or so they tell me.

      if so:

      Does the President intend to go to Moscow? And if so, when?

      more so/less so/very much so:

      ‘Is Sybil the outdoor type?’ ‘Oh yes, very much so.’

    2. b.
      mainly spoken used for saying that something that was just said is also true about another person or thing
      so is/does/can/will etc someone:

      Heidi is planning to come, and so is Sylvia.

      My parents send their love, and so does Rachel.

      ‘I’d like to know what’s happening out there.’ ‘So would I.’

      If I learned how to drive a car, so can you.

  3. 3
    used for saying that something happens or someone does something because of what you have just mentioned

    She thought there might have been an accident, so she called the police.

    He was born in France, so he also has a French passport.

    A tree had fallen across the road, so they had to turn round and go back.

    so that:

    The window was covered so that it was not possible to see inside.

  4. 4
    used for saying what the purpose of an action is
    so (that):

    He lowered his voice so no one would hear.

    I’ll get a map so that we can plan where we’re going.

    so as (not) to do something:

    In Tehran the wives of foreign diplomats wore headscarves so as not to offend the Iranians.

  5. 5
    used for starting a statement in a conversation spoken
    1. a.
      used for continuing a conversation, especially for starting a new subject or starting to ask a question

      So, let’s get down to business.

      So, what do you suggest we do next?

    2. b.
      used for introducing a question in order to make sure that what you have heard or noticed is correct

      So, you’ve finally decided to come with us?

  6. 6
    in such a way
    1. a.



      like so

      spoken used when showing someone how something should be done

      Tie the two ends together, like so.

      Grasp the handle with both hands, so.

    2. b.
      spoken used when describing something and using your hands to show its size

      I need a couple of metal rods about so long.

    3. c.
      used for saying that someone makes or arranges something in such a way that there is a particular result

      Each course of studies was so arranged that students could combine their education with part-time work.

      The architect had so designed the rooms that every window overlooked the lake.

  7. 7
    spoken used for introducing a known fact before you make a comment to show that it does not matter

    Okay, so the guy made a few mistakes. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player.

  8. 8
    used for saying that a number or amount is limited

    I can only listen to her complaints for so long before I start to get angry.

    only so much/many:

    We have only so much time before the exams start.

    There are only so many police officers available for controlling the crowds.

See also