Is it true that the use of so that in the following sentence is a poor usage?

She worked late so that she could complete the work.

The reference I found suggests that it is an incorrect use of the phrase. The correct sentence should read:
She worked late so that the work was completed.

To me, sentence #1 sounds quite natural. What do you think?

Last edited {1}
Original Post
There are two possible functions for "so that" in the sentence. 1) If the purpose of her working late was to complete the job (I would suggest the noun "job" instead of "work"), the sentence

She worked late so that she could complete the job perfectly correct.

2) If, however, "so that" is being used to introduce the result of her working late, the sentence would read

She worked late, so that she completed the job

An important difference is that when "so that" introduces the result of an action, not the purpose, it is preceded by a comma.

It is also grammatically correct to say

She worked late, so that the job was completed

It all depends on the intended meaning of the sentence.

Marilyn Martin
It has just occurred to me that there's a use of "so that" to introduce a result that doesn't have a comma:

1) I need someone to fix the window so that it doesn't rattle in the wind

2) She seated the dinner guests so that couples weren't forced to talk to each other

The meaning of "so that" in this context is "in such a way that."

Marilyn Martin

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.