h1

‘So that’ versus ‘such that’

October 21, 2013

Based on a writing tip I wrote recently for my work colleagues.

*********************

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: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/16883/difference-between-so-that-and-such-that

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).

*****************

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: