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I have seen people using "So" (followed by a comma) in the beginning of a sentence written as a conclusion of what is written in the previous sentence(s). For example: "I was sick yesterday. So, I could not attend the school." Often, I also find people using "so" to introduce the second part of a single sentence as in "It was still painful so I went to see a doctor." Is the sentence in second example correct? To me, correct rule of using "so" is the way it is used in the first example. Or, it may be that I am mistaken. Can anyone tell me all the correct rules for this particular sort of usage of "so".

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  • Both of your examples look like things I see often. I also often see slightly different versions: the first without the comma after "So," the second with a comma before "so," and the second with "and" (preceded by a comma or not) before "so." In this specific case, I'd probably use your second version with a comma before "so," but I'm sure I've used at least some of the other versions in other situations. (The comma in the second version would become more desirable if the two individual clauses were longer.) Dec 6, 2015 at 13:50

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There is no advantage in writing "I was sick yesterday. So, I could not attend the school." rather than as one sentence, with so as a conjunction: "I was sick yesterday, so I could not attend the school." Sometimes the comma is desirable, but not in all cases.

You can use So at the start of a sentence, when the first clause is your aim, and the second clause is how to achieve it: "So that the children did their homework, there was no TV before dinner."

And So is sometimes (fairly informally) used to introduce a story or a question: "So - here is my situation - in April my husband and I are spending a week in Paris, and would like to know the must-sees.".

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So,

So. resumptive;
Example// The cat was sick; the bus was late; I had to answer a text; I got jam on my shirt. So, I didn't have time for any breakfast this morning. "So," gathers a number of different events into one explanation.

So, peremptory;
The chairman, or senior lecturer, or speaker can use an opening "So, ..." to establish their turn to speak. (I think there may be a @JLawler citation due here)

So, hesitant
So,... has replaced Um, er, as an initial sound to start an answer. Almost all participants on BBC Science programmes now start their replies with "So, ..."

"Is fracking intrinsically safe?" "So, when fracking is supervised by experienced Geologists..."

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  • Dear Hugh, you made a wonderful point in saying "So," gathers "a number of different events" into one explanation. I admit that if we instead use ",so", that will not gather all the events. But, can we use "So,", when there is only one event (say, "The cat was sick.")? Dec 6, 2015 at 9:26

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