In American English, we often add a drawn out "so" at the end of a sentence to imply an outcome.


Jane wanted to go out, but I was tired, so we didn't.

Rather than say "we didn't" at the end, we often simply end the sentence with "so." When we do that, we see people reflect that in writing by adding an ellipsis to represent the missing words and the pointedly pregnant "so."


Jane wanted to go out, but I was tired, so...

However, recently I visited Ireland -- County Cork to be specific. Speakers there do something similar, but they've cut to the chase. Rather than linger on the "so" like we Americans do, they seem to simply end the sentence with "so" and move right onto the next. It's almost like "so" becomes a pronoun for all they left unsaid that we could readily infer.


Jane wanted to go out, but I was tired, so. Besides, I didn't have the money anyway.

This made me question how I normally write sentences like this, question using the ellipsis.

My question is this:

Is it grammatical to end a sentence with a single period after "so" like I did above without having the coordinate clause explicitly follow it?

On one hand, we imply things all the time and grammar takes it completely in stride. But on the other hand, it looks awfully odd ending a sentence with a coordinating conjunction like that. Yet I can't find any rule that prohibits it. So I cast my bread upon the waters.

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    Are you sure that really is the therefore usage? Could it be the intensifier 'so' (non-standard positioning of 'I was tired so' for 'I was so tired', still common in 'I love you so' and nowadays shuffled to 'I so love you')? Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 3:16
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    @EdwinAshworth It's not an emphatic usage, though it's possibly the "therefore" usage (e.g. you could imagine someone saying "I'll go for the newspaper, so", akin to "I'll go for the newspaper, then" (which I guess, thinking about it is like saying "therefore I'll go for the newspaper"?) — the thing I'd struggle with there is "what, therefore I'll go for the newspaper. Normally it's used like the usage of "you know", what Cambridge Dictionary calls Discourse Markers Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 9:31
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    There is already a question dealing with terminal so as used in Ireland: Is there a name for how the Irish use so-so?. I don't think OP here gives enough detail to determine whether this is a duplicate. Actual rather than assumed examples are required. Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 9:54
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    @anotherdave The 'then' / 'therefore' usage needs prior context ("I'll go for the newspaper, then" requires at least a notion of a train of thought about activities, if not a prior sentence like 'Tea won't be for half an hour.'). 'Jane wanted to go out, but I was tired, so.' doesn't have this. // This 'then' / 'therefore' is an explanation-of-a-subsequent [to prior context]-action and sentence-connecting pragmatic marker. Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 10:09
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    @EdwinAshworth Cool, yeah that makes sense re-prior context! Re: the possible dupe & 'terminal so', I think this is discussing the same usage & the OP has just given an unfortunate example, rather than a new use-case, but would be interested to hear more examples from the contrary from OP; if not, it's definitely a new one on me. ('Terminal so' would make for a great name for a Corkonian indie band). Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


Your examples are dialog. As such, it's "grammatical" to describe exactly what was said.

If you are quoting an American, it's just fine to say "Jane wanted to go out, but I was tired, so...". The same is true for County Cork.

Spoken language plays fast and loose with the rules of grammar people worry about for text, but if you are quoting dialog, I think you are fine.

I would say, however, that if you are writing for an AUDIENCE of one kind or another, I would use the form most understandable to them if there is any ambiguity. American English uses "so" at the end of a sentence, with a full stop, more often in the concept of "just so." You're stating that something is EXACTLY as expected or described previously, and a hasty reading could come off as confusing.

If you are transcribing dialog, transcribe what they are saying. If you are not transcribing dialog, use the form expected by your expected audience.

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