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.

  • 1
    I am a bit confused as to what German original you might have in mind. A word-for-word equivalent would be wie so, which makes no sense in German. To express like this, a German would typically write (so) wie das, wie folgt, simply so, or even folgendermaßen, but never wie so.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 29 '10 at 10:50
  • Could you give some examples?
    – malach
    Oct 29 '10 at 10:57
  • never mind ... how do I delete this entry?
    – user1881
    Oct 29 '10 at 11:29
  • 1
    I wouldn't actually delete it. It is a valid question, whether or not the mistranslation hypothesis holds any water.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 29 '10 at 12:19
  • I have seen like so in quite some places, and used quite frequently while talking when I was in Europe (Belgium). My impression was also the same - perhaps a mistranslation from some language. Let me dig for links...
    – Nivas
    Oct 29 '10 at 12:29

"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.

  • 11
    Don't forget "Make it so."
    – Claudiu
    Oct 29 '10 at 16:11
  • @Claudiu: Good one!
    – Kosmonaut
    Oct 29 '10 at 19:53