How do I figure out when to use a comma before "so"?

1) I put it on my blog so you can read it. (means: I put it on my web blog because I want you to be able to read it.)

2) I didn't find any eggs in the supermarket, so I couldn't bake your favorite pie. (means: I didn't find any eggs, therefore I couldn't bake the pie)

Do I need a comma in both cases before "s" according to the FANBOYS-Rule? And if not so, why can I leave it out in case 1)? What trick can I use to figure out when to put a comma before "so"?


  • It almost always depends on the intended meaning, dependent/independent clause distinctions aside. You could read it two ways. 1) I put it on my blog, so you can read it (yourself), meaning "I'm not going to waste time explaining this to you if you can just read it yourself". As you indicated, your intended meaning is "I want you to be able to read it", in which case the comma should be omitted. Likewise, for the second sentence, omitting the comma would imply you tried your very best to avoid finding eggs in the supermarket just so you could hurt that person by not baking their favorite pie. – AleksandrH Nov 27 '17 at 15:52
  • Side note: you should say "I put it in my blog". – AleksandrH Nov 27 '17 at 15:54

Tricky question.

The use of "so" in your first sentence is actually not a coordinating conjunction; it is the same as the subordinating conjunction "so that," so it doesn't require a comma before it because it makes the clause "you can read it" a dependent clause.

I put it on my blog so you can read it.

I put it on my blog so that you can read it.

A simple guideline is seeing if adding "that" after the "so" makes sense.

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  • 1
    Sometimes this use of "so" means "and now" instead of "so that" (= "in order that"). As you might expexmct in English, this question requires more context before it can be definitively answered. – Spencer Nov 27 '17 at 15:45
  • @Spencer I see what you mean. – Arc Nov 27 '17 at 16:42

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