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"They are an easy way to force a conscious examination of ideas — because that is necessary for writing — and a way for me to better track myself in a way smart watches are as of yet unable to do so."

Here, is the "watches are as of yet unable to do so" grammatically correct? Or does the "so" need to leave?

  • 3
    Right, let go of the so -- "in a way" takes "unable to do." – Kris Feb 12 '19 at 9:26
  • Is that grammatically incorrect or a style choice? – danishanish Feb 13 '19 at 16:20
  • It's not a style choice. To be grammatical, you must eliminate "so" from the sentence. In the prepositional phrase "in a way (that) smart watches are as of yet unable to do," "way" is being modified by the restrictive clause "(that) smart watches are as of yet unable to do," so the object of the verb "do" in the restrictive clause is the implied subject "that" (i.e., "(that)," which I parenthetically added for clarification but that may be implied and so isn't required for you to put) whose antecedent is "way," thus making the appearance of "so" after "do" ungrammatical. – Benjamin Harman Mar 31 '19 at 15:45
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... *for me to better track myself in a way smart watches are as of yet unable to do so

As noted, this particular infinitive clause is ungrammatical with so. It's OK without so, however:

  • ... for me to better track myself in a way smart watches are as of yet unable to do

and even better without do:

  • ... for me to better track myself in a way smart watches are as of yet unable to

The reason for this is that do so represents some deleted verb phrase, as in

  • Bill nodded and I did so, too.

where it represents nodded.

But in the original example sentence, the phrase unable to do is the remains of unable to track myself in Some Particular way, and do so is not allowed with that kind of construction. Do by itself, on the other hand, is allowed after unable to, but it's optional, and the infinitive to by itself is enough.

Though being grammatical doesn't make this sentence any better. It's a terrible sentence, written (nobody would ever say this sentence) by someone who thought that importance and clarity was a matter of big words and plenty of them, in complex constructions and as many subordinate clauses and connotations as possbible.

As of yet is consciously archaic; say so far. The better serves no purpose. In a way should be the way.

  • ... for me to track myself the way smart watches are so far unable to

or, shifting the negative to a more prominent position

  • ... for me to track myself the way no smart watch is able to so far
  • Your answer reminds me of the movie Passengers where Chris Pratt's character asks Jennifer Lawrence's character in a note to have dinner with him and she responds by simply writing, "Love to." – Benjamin Harman Mar 31 '19 at 18:01
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The 'so' is perfectly acceptable in the sentence.

Its use is vast. One example can be found in 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations', although not strictly a 'dictionary'.

"Hence I am free to fly like a bird (no one is interfering or will impede me) but I am unable to do so; I am able to to do so many actions...."

  • 2
    You're generically right that "so" can be properly used in the phrase "to do so," but that doesn't fit in this context. That's because the object pronoun "so" must be eliminated since it's been preemptively replaced by "way." "Way" is the object pronoun of "do." As such, the end of the sentence should read: "...in a way smart watches are as of yet unable to do." – Benjamin Harman Mar 31 '19 at 15:35

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