On a webpage called Daily Writing Tips there is a list of 25 subordinating conjunctions including so. The example they're giving is this:

“So sure were you of your theory about them, you ignored evidence that you were wrong.”

  • Isn't that an adverb here?
  • Isn't the first clause in fact the main clause while the following two are dependent?
  • 1
    You are right, and Sally's comment in the web page you link to explains why. – Shoe Jan 3 '14 at 16:43
  • 2
    @Shoe: I'm not sure how meaningful it is to identify either component of OP's example as the "main clause". But if we have to, surely it must be the statement you ignored evidence that you were wrong. The "explanatory" component (because you were [so] cocksure) seems far more "optional" to me. – FumbleFingers Jan 3 '14 at 16:59
  • 1
    I agree with the OP that the main clause is ‘So sure were you of your theory about them’, and that so is an adverb. It’s another way of saying ‘You were so sure of your theory about them’. The rest of the sentence is a post-predicate that-clause. – Barrie England Jan 3 '14 at 17:20
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers. Without the fronting of so sure and with the reinsertion of the elided that we get "You were so sure of your theory about them that you ignored evidence that you were wrong". On such a reading the first clause is indeed the main clause. You are right, however, if the sentence is rewritten: "You ignored evidence that you were wrong because you were so sure of your theory about them." – Shoe Jan 3 '14 at 17:22
  • 2
    Well, according to what I was taught, the second part is the main part, and the first part just modifies it. 'So' is an adverb modifying an adjective, which in turn doesn't really constitute a subject. But the last part of the sentence is a straight-up proper sentence all by itself. Even going by the feel of it, during the intro we are merely biding our time before they reveal the real info in the last part. Too lazy to get a reference for it right now, but the books were clear on this when I was in school. – Stew Mar 21 '14 at 4:42

Here we have a typical case of an inverted result clause.If it wasn't inverted it would be written this way,"“You were so sure of your theory about them, you ignored evidence that you were wrong.” Maybe that was what confused you.

So to answer your questions, yes, "so" here is an adverb, and it always introduces the main clause in result clauses. As for the other two sentences, they are indeed dependent ones.(dependent sentences don't change in a "result clause inversion" Example: I was so tired (that) I fell asleep immediately. Inversion: So tired was I (that) I fell asleep immediately.

| improve this answer | |

If the words before the comma were intended to be the independent clause the writer would not have used the comma hence the reason for thinking the writer intended the words after the comma as the independent clause.

| improve this answer | |

Everything before the comma looks like its an adverbial clause that modifies the verb “ignored” . Giving the reason why ignored. Therefore “so” is a subordinate conjunction.

| improve this answer | |
  • Welcome to EL&U. Please consider adding references to show why you're right, and Vic's accepted answer from three years ago is wrong? – Rupert Morrish Mar 12 '18 at 18:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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