"so as to", "as to" or simply "to"?

I was writing an email earlier and I started to hesitate as to what the best way to convey the following idea is.

1- I don't think I'm good enough to distinguish many US accents.
2- I don't think I'm good enough as to distinguish many US accents.
3- I don't think I'm good enough so as to distinguish many US accents.

Do they all mean exactly the same?
Do any of them is plain wrong?
Which would be the best choice?

Thanks.
 
  • JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    PolCas said:
    I was writing an email earlier and I started to hesitate as to what is the best way to convey the following idea.

    1- I don't think I'm good enough to distinguish many US accents.
    2- I don't think I'm good enough as to (incorrect) distinguish many US accents.
    3- I don't think I'm good enough so as to (incorrect) distinguish many US accents.

    Do they all mean exactly the same?
    Do any of them is plain wrong?
    Which would be the best choice?

    Thanks.
    Good enough seems a little too ambiguous in this case - perhaps, "I don't think I have a good enough ear to..."?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    JLanguage said:
    Good enough seems a little too ambiguous in this case - perhaps, "I don't think I have a good enough ear to..."?
    [adjective] + enough + to is a fixed pattern in English.

    I agree about "good enough." I would suggest

    I am not proficient enough at English to distinguish many US accents.
    I am not familiar enough with American English to distinguish many US accents.
    etc.

    depending on what exactly you're trying to say.
     

    E-J

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Hello PolCas.

    Only your first sentence, with "to", works here: I don't think I'm good enough to distinguish many US accents. The refinements that JLanguage and elroy have made are good, but from a grammatical point of view, your sentence is correct, and to me it sounds perfectly ok.


    So as to means "in order to", which really means "because I want to ..."

    You could say: I listen to the BBC every day so as to improve my ear for English. In normal speech (less formal) you'd be more likely to use "so (that) I can", rather than "so as to". The important thing here is that the action taking place in the first part of the sentence is something deliberate, intended to produce the result you describe after "so as to".

    Try replacing "so as to" with "because I want to" and see if it still makes sense:


    I listen to the BBC every day so as to improve my ear for English. :tick:
    I listen to the BBC every day because I want to improve my ear for English. :tick:


    I don't think I'm good enough so as to distinguish many US accents. :cross:
    I don't think I'm good enough because I want to distinguish many US accents. :cross:

    You could use as to in the construction so + [adjective] + as to, for example: Would you be so good as to explain this to me? This is a very polite, formal construction. Note that Would you be good/kind enough to explain this to me? is also fine, and is slightly less formal.

    Hope I haven't added to your confusion! :)
     
    E-J said:
    Hope I haven't added to your confusion! :)
    No, you didn't! In fact, you just gave me a great rule to know when it's suitable to use those expresions. As I was getting them wrong all the time, I was about to get rid of them. Thanks a lot!

    Thanks to the others too for their examples. :)

    Regards.
     
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