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"There were so many webs, that the town looked like something from a horror movie. "

I understand the meaning of this sentence but not the grammar. What is the grammatical function of the clause "that the town looked like..."?

Can anyone help me parse this sentence? This is what I have so far: subj- There verb- were, predicate - many, adv - so

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    The so X that S construction consists of two parts: a measure of some property X marked with so (so high, so many webs, so little money, so interesting) followed by a result clause S marked with that (respectively, that nobody can climb it, that it looked like a horror movie, that they can't afford food, that I decided to stay another day). The result clause illustrates the degree asserted for X. A stressed so is often used to mean very (I was so mad), but that's baby talk; so requires a that clause to make sense. – John Lawler May 27 '15 at 16:29
  • So, "that the town looked.like..." is an adverb modifying so? – William May 27 '15 at 16:42
  • Is there a name for these kinds of constructions that have two parts? – William May 27 '15 at 16:46
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    No, the that clause is not an adverb, and it doesn't modify so. So is part of the construction, like that; neither word has any meaning independent of the construction. There are thousands of such multi-part constructions in English, like comparative (more important than that book), superlative (the most important of all), equative (as important as you think), and the let alone construction. Most have no special name; they're the norm, not anything special. – John Lawler May 27 '15 at 17:29
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    The comma might be confounding the sense. I wouldn't expect one there as it separates the So X that Y construction. – Andrew Leach May 27 '15 at 18:41
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Clauses that describe consequences are called clauses of result in English terminology. The traditional name in Latin grammar is consecutive clauses. Clauses of result belong to the group of adverbial clauses. The basic structures are

1 so that-clause (describing consequence/result)

2 so + adjective that-clause (consequence/result).

Examples

1a The gravestones were covered with moss so that it was impossible to read the names on them. (Longman DCE)

2a It was so cold that the water froze.

Of course, there are variants.

You can make such sentences clearer by inserting "consequence":

1b The gravestone were covered with moss. The consequence was that it was impossible to read the names on them.

2b It was so cold and the consequence was that the water froze.

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In comments, John Lawler wrote:

The so X that S construction consists of two parts: a measure of some property X marked with so (so high, so many webs, so little money, so interesting) followed by a result clause S marked with that (respectively, that nobody can climb it, that it looked like a horror movie, that they can't afford food, that I decided to stay another day). The result clause illustrates the degree asserted for X. A stressed so is often used to mean very (I was so mad), but that's baby talk; so requires a that clause to make sense.

Then following a comment by the OP asking whether that the town looked like is an adverb modifying so, also:

No, the that clause is not an adverb, and it doesn't modify so. So is part of the construction, like that; neither word has any meaning independent of the construction. There are thousands of such multi-part constructions in English, like comparative (more important than that book), superlative (the most important of all), equative (as important as you think), and the let alone construction. Most have no special name; they're the norm, not anything special.

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That the town is just a follow-on bit of detail. It means that the number of spider webs made it look like something from a horror movie.

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