Commas With 'So as to'

When using "so as to" at the beginning of a sentence, add a comma after the introductory phrase.

When using "so as to" at the beginning of a sentence, add a comma after the introductory phrase.

So as to solve the problem, we must first understand the question.

In mid-sentence, by contrast, commas are generally unnecessary.

You need a good command of programming and technical skills so as to be a software engineer.

"So as to" is a compound preposition that has an infinitive as its object (e.g., "so as to achieve"). We use it to form adverbial infinitive phrases (e.g., "so as to achieve progress"). You can introduce this preposition at the beginning or in mid-sentence to express purpose.

So as to evaluate the speed of the software program, they established a performance testing strategy.

They established a performance testing strategy so as to evaluate the speed of the software program.

Commas at the beginning of a sentence

When starting a sentence with "so as to", add a comma after the introductory phrase.

So as to obtain positive results, build a prototype and test it.

So as to obtain positive results build a prototype and test it.

The comma is optional, however, if the introductory phrase is brief and clear (no more than four or five words).

So as to build confidence she stopped comparing herself to others.

Commas in mid-sentence

When using "so as to" in the middle of a sentence, commas are generally unnecessary.

She clicked on "properties" so as to find the product model.

But there are exceptions. For example, use them to interrupt the sentence flow or add nonessential information:

Peter tried to be transparent, so as to be understood, but he couldn't hold the attention of his audience.

Additionally, use commas to separate a series of phrases or infinitives.

We need to build a new strategy so as to prevent conflicts, reduce costs, and avoid uncertainty about the future.

Using 'To' or 'In order to' Instead of 'So as to'

You can replace "so as to" by "in order to". Follow the same comma strategy with "in order to".

They formed an alliance in order to end plastic waste.

Similarly, you can use "to" instead of "so as to" to express purpose. Use a comma after long introductory phrases starting with "to" as well

To end plastic waste and protect the planet, they formed an alliance.

What's the difference between "so as to" and "to"? "So as to" is much more formal and more common in writing than in speaking.

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