Reading blog entries about computing I often see "like so" instead of "like this". Is this correct English? It sounds to me like a word by word translation from German.
"Like so" is completely valid English, and it comes from an older sense of the word so that is gradually falling out of use in English. It should come as no surprise that so is a Germanic word and that the German so comes from the same place.
This meaning of so in English is "in this manner/condition". Dictionary.com touches on this meaning in the first three entries.
A lot of the places that we use so with this sort of meaning are in idiomatic phrases, for example:
- If you are so inclined...
- It is so.
- So let it be done.
I, for one, have said "like so" from time to time throughout my life.