<so as to> make a lexical ambiguity account unlikely

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I haven't read the whole of the thread, but like Andy and Loob I find it "odd" and I wouldn't have used is common enough [...], so as to make myself. I would judge it bad style, for BE at least, but perhaps it's generally accepted nowadays.
I'm glad you focussed on a proper unit; this thread, from the start had an approach like this: Consider the sentence, "The lower court case was decided correctly, the judges ruled." Now let's ask the question: Is THIS a proper phrase, "correctly the judges"? It's not in the dictionary!

What's also worth mentioning is that even simpler, similar sentences, such as "I'm going outside so as to exercize my legs" are quite stiffly formal, even awkward.
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks for citing OED, but from your quotes it seems to me that OED doesn't explicitly say 'so as to' can follow 'enough', does it? And OED doesn't seem to have a single example sentence where 'enough + so as to' is used.
    There is a an English dictum "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Rather than using an absence of something to confirm one's own prejudices, it is worthwhile considering this... :)


    Senior Member
    English UK
    could you be kind enough (??so as) to cite the definition of 'so as (to)' in OED? I'd like to know whether OED defines 'so as (to)' as 'with the result' as well as 'with the purpose' (just as the RH dictionary does).
    To answer the question you posed to Paul, this is what the OED entry for so says about "so as" + infinitive:
    a. so.., or so..as, so as, followed by an infinitive denoting result or consequence.The omission of as is now regarded as irregular.
    c1680 W. Beveridge Serm. (1729) II. 283 They all run, but not so as to obtain.​
    1736 Gentleman's Mag. Dec. 716/1 I think it impossible to amend it..so as to make it a Bill fit for being passed.​
    1853 Zoologist 11 3724 Dismounting and hobbling the horse so as to allow him to feed.​
    1896 Law Times 100 488/1 To repair the drain so as to abate the nuisance complained of.​
    b. With infinitive preceded by a noun. rare.
    JungKim, I suggest you take from this thread whatever makes most sense to you.
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    Senior Member
    British English
    I wasn't going to post again, but then I saw this outrageous statement.
    I'm glad you focussed on a proper unit; this thread, from the start had an approach like this: Consider the sentence, "The lower court case was decided correctly, the judges ruled." Now let's ask the question: Is THIS a proper phrase, "correctly the judges"? It's not in the dictionary!
    The "proper unit", which some of us have been concentrating on, is " is common enough [...], so as to make" It is others, including bennymix, who have introduced the irrelevance of quoting sentences that do not contain the word "enough".
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    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I find Hacquard in the OP not objectionable though the style is dense, unfriendly and academic.
    Well, I'm never averse to picking holes in someone else's style, so I admit that this "too big of a" (from the preceding sentence) gave me quite a shock:

    Such an ambiguity is tacitly assumed in semantic analyses that focus on particular subtypes of modality (Groenendijk & Stokhof 10 1975 for epistemic may, Kamp 1975 for deontic may), and, perhaps, postulating ambiguity 220 for certain modal words may not be too big of an issue, given that there are modal words which are never ambiguous (e.g., might).

    Too colloquial for me, I'm afraid.
    CGEL by Pullum (Page 969) says:

    Note: In CGEL, symbol % means "grammatical in some dialect(s) only".

    But CGEL doesn't mention anything about the construction 'enough...so as to'.

    Now, in Present-day English (since WWII), 'enough to' has been used 2800 times as much as 'enough so as to'; 'enough that' 120 times; and 'enough so that' 50 times, according to Ngram.
    Regarding Pullam and your first sentence about 'some dialects'. What you might have noted is the Mr. Pullum is a descriptive linguist. He is not saying "Do this, it's legal" or "Don't do this [unless you speak a dialect]."

    Pullum published this article, in August 26, 2018, in the Chronicle of Higher Education,

    The Perennial Difficulty of Defining What ‘Descriptive’ Means in Grammar.
    There, he characterizes himself as a descriptive linguist and explains himself thus, against the suggestion he’s covertly prescriptive:

    In describing a structural regularity I am not recommending that it be respected. If I show you the design plan for my summerhouse, and you imagine that I’m saying yours ought to have a tilted flat roof like mine, that would be an insane misinterpretation. There is no covert recommendation that you should build yours just the same…Dialect A may have a restriction which is completely absent in dialect B; […]Describing any one of them is not tantamount to recommending in its favor or deprecating the others.


    I recommend the article to readers who have any perplexity about the nature of 'rules' in books--at least Pullum's--on grammar.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    People learning a language need to know what is considered "good English" (while allowing for different registers in different contexts). Teachers have to be prescriptive to some extent.

    To borrow an example from Andygc, it isn't much point telling a learner (even an advanced learner) that "I would of done it if I could" is so commonly used that nobody turns a hair when you say it. People will judge you on your language use, just as they will judge you on the way you dress and on your body language.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It's become increasingly apparent that this is a topic on which people are not going to reach agreement and that further discussion is unlikely to prove fruitful. This thread had also wandered considerably from its original focus on the topic sentence. I'm therefore now closing it: thanks to everyone for their contributions, which I hope JungKim has found useful.
    DonnyB - moderator.
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