So That vs. Such That

Today’s Tip of the Day is brought to you by Australian Rhonda Bracey, editor of CyberText Newsletter, whose blog is every
bit as helpful and informative as mine, if not more so. (But I’m funnier – and WAY more humble, er, full of myself.) We subscribe to each other, and she has helped me out of some very frustrating Word situations with her expert advice.

Susan asked: “I see ‘such that’ used frequently these days, especially in […] documents. It’s used instead of ‘so that’. What are your thoughts?”

She then gave an example:
The [ABC management system] ensures that critical information related to health, environment, safety, reliability and efficiency
is developed, accessible, and maintained such that the workforce has access to and is using the most current information.

I wasn’t sure of the differences so I had to look this one up, and found a decent explanation here:

In essence:
•       “Such that” focuses on consequences, or HOW something is done
•       “So that” focuses on purpose, or WHY something is done

So in the example above, “so that” would be more appropriate, as it’s referring to the purpose (the WHY) of the ABC management system, which is to give the workforce access to the most current information.

A simple, if macabre, example to show the difference:
•       The doctor changed Mary’s medication so that she died. This sounds like the doctor wanted to kill her (purpose).
•       The doctor changed Mary’s medication such that she died. This sounds like the doctor made a mistake (consequences).


Funny Typo of the Day:
John Evans in Oman sent in the following:

“I came across a great typo yesterday. Instead of ‘Full Field Liquid Fraction Expansion Project’ as the document title, I had ‘Fullfilled Liquid Fraction Expansion Project.’ I can only guess the project may already be finished or is obviously a happy and
contented project.”

Or that those expanded facilities are filled full to the brim, hopefully with liquid crude oil.

Profound “So That” Quotes of the Day:

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann, German artist, 1880–1966

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
– George S. Patton, American military general, 1885–1945

“The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher, 1881–1955



One Response to “So That vs. Such That”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    Thanks Jeanne!

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