English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Here is the sentence:

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later. To take sides at a later point would be to suggest that the earlier presumptive impartiality was a sham.

I don't understand the meaning of "by so" in this sentences. Does the sentence mean "by abandoning agreeing the right to take sides later, a person can become a mediator", or "by serving as mediator, a person must abandon taking sides later"? What does the "so" refer to? And is "by so" a "adverbial modifier" of "abandon agreeing"?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, Kris, Hellion Apr 29 '13 at 19:10

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

by so agreeing = by making this agreement // by so agreeing is an adverbial modifying abandons (the option of taking sides later on). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 28 '13 at 7:39
google.com/… (so: "in the way described or demonstrated; thus") – MετάEd Apr 28 '13 at 16:47
up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's parsed: [by][so agreeing] instead of [by so][agreeing]

The essence of the sentence is:

A person who agrees to serve, abandons (gives up) the right to take sides.

You can substitute "by agreeing in this way" for "by so agreeing":

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both, abandons (by agreeing in this way) the right to take sides later.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.