Can You Start a Sentence With 'So that'?

You can use "so that" at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

It's correct to start a sentence with "so that". For example:

So that the country can become economically self-sufficient, the government needs to solve its longer-term economic challenges

"So that" is a subordinating conjunction, which introduces a subordinate clause. When using it at the beginning of your sentence, be aware of:

  1. Commas. Add a comma after the subordinate clause at the beginning of a sentence (learn more about how to use commas with "so that" and "so").

    So that the students could express their real life experiences, we created a trusting atmosphere.

    So that the students could express their real life experiences we created a trusting atmosphere.

  2. Emphasis. This construction can be used for emphasis, but overusing it in the front position can be problematic.

    So that John could achieve his goals, he demonstrated unflagging resilience. (It shows emphasis.)

    John demonstrated unflagging resilience so that he could achieve his goals. (a more neutral version)

  3. "So that" vs. "so". In informal contexts or colloquial English, "that" is sometimes omitted from the "so that" construction.

    So my children could play outside, we bought a new house in the suburbs.

    We bought a new house in the suburbs so my children could play outside.

"So that" and "in order that" are synonyms. They both have the same meaning and are used in the same way. However, "in order that" is more formal and less common.

In order that the society could pursue a more constructive policy, we were anxious to settle that matter.

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