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Ligaments connect bones to each other. This is so they can help stabilize the joints and provide structure to the skeletal frame.

source:http://solidlifefitness.com/2014/03/16/muscles-tendons-ligaments/

 

Parsing one:

"so they can help..." is predicative.

Parsing two:

"so" is predicative and there is a "that" omitted, i.e. "This is so (that)they can help stabilize...". That-clause is a result adverbial clause.

Which parsing do you think is correct?

Original Post

Hi, Robby zhu,

"so (that) they can help stabilize ..." is an adverbial clause of result.

"This is" seems to me to be a pro-form substituting for the previous sentence "ligaments connect bones to each other," similar to saying "this happens." What do you think, David?

Note: I find the text provided to be grammatically similar to sentences starting with "this is because":

Ligament injuries can be serious when they do occur. This is because ligaments do not receive much blood flow like bones and muscles, so they are slow to repair themselves. (Source)

In the text above, "this is" refers to the previous sentence (the fact that ligament injuries can be serious). "because" introduces the reason why this is so (adverbial clause of reason).

In both cases, we can add "so" after the verb "be":

- This is so, so that they can help stabilize ...

- This is so because ligaments do not receive ...

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
"This is" seems to me to be a pro-form substituting for the previous sentence "ligaments connect bones to each other," similar to saying "this happens." What do you think, David?


Note: I find the text provided to be grammatically similar to sentences starting with "this is because":

Yes, I think that is a very reasonable interpretation, Gustavo. The sentence can certainly be "expanded" to read:

  • Ligaments connect bones to each other so (that) they can help stabilize the joints and provide structure to the skeletal frame.

In that sentence, as well as in "This is so that . . .," "so (that)" is a subordinating conjunction. "This is so that . . ." is thus grammatically comparable not only to "This is because . . ." but also to "That was after . . .," "This was before . . .," "That was when . . .," etc.

It might be said that such sentences function, together with their antecedent sentences (the sentences with the propositional antecedent referred to by "this" or "that"), as cleft-sentence couplets, where the demonstrative pronoun takes the place of the "it" that would introduce a standard cleft sentence like this:

  • It is so (that) they can help stabilize the joints and provide structure to the skeletal frame that ligaments connect bones to each other.

Here's a simpler example:

Drivers honk their horns so that they will get other drivers' attention.
It is so that they will get other drivers' attention that drivers honk their horns.
Drivers honk their horns. This is so that they will get other drivers' attention.

David, Moderator posted:

 

It might be said that such sentences function, together with their antecedent sentences (the sentences with the propositional antecedent referred to by "this" or "that"), as cleft-sentence couplets, where the demonstrative pronoun takes the place of the "it" that would introduce a standard cleft sentence like this:

  • It is so (that) they can help stabilize the joints and provide structure to the skeletal frame that ligaments connect bones to each other.

 

Excellent, David. There was something about clefting I had perceived, but I didn't know how to put it. You described it perfectly well.

Not sure if you can notice this. If you don't, I will start a new thread later.

- The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend.

I feel this sentence is somehow related to the sentence in the original post.

But in this case, "so that" seems not adverbial. So how do you parse this one?

Robby zhu posted:

- The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend.

I feel this sentence is somehow related to the sentence in the original post.

But in this case, "so that" seems not adverbial. So how do you parse this one?

I agree with you that, unlike the other cases David and I dealt with further above in this thread, "so that we could meet her new boyfriend" specifies the "idea of going." Here "idea" means "purpose." In my view, that clause is a subject complement:

- What was the idea (= purpose) of going?
- The idea (= purpose) of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend / The idea (= purpose) of going was that.

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