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ran so fast that vs ran fast so that

hirashin

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I have another question. Would someone help me?
(a) He ran so fast that I couldn't follow him.
(b) He ran fast so that I couldn't follow him.

Can (a) and (b) have the same meaning? Would they be used interchangeably?

Hirashin
 

Lothor

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I have another question. Would someone help me?
(a) He ran so fast that I couldn't follow him.
(b) He ran fast so that I couldn't follow him.

Can (a) and (b) have the same meaning? Would they be used interchangeably?

Hirashin
Both are grammatically correct although there is a slight difference in meaning.. (b) sounds that the main aim of the runner is that he doesn't doesn't want the person to follow him.
For example (a) might be a race where you are running against Usain Bolt - he just wants to win so he runs fast and you can't keep up - (b) might be an angry girlfriend running away from a boyfriend after a row so that he cannot follow her.

If I change the sentences a bit
(a) The mouse squeaked so quietly that I couldn't hear it.
(b) I spoke quietly (to my friend) so that other people couldn't hear me,
I think you can see the difference.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Lothor.
I'm still not sure about the difference between (a) and (b) in my post.
I suppose that in (a) "he ran so fast" is the reason that "I couldn't
follow him."but in (b) he didn't want me to follow him. Am I right?
Hirashin
 

Lothor

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Thanks for the help, Lothor.
I'm still not sure about the difference between (a) and (b) in my post.
I suppose that in (a) "he ran so fast" is the reason that "I couldn't
follow him."but in (b) he didn't want me to follow him. Am I right?
Hirashin
Yes, it's about intention. In (b) the runner definitely doesn't want the other person following.. In (a) it may be the case but it cannot be concluded. In your examples, the difference is rather subtle, but generally there's a clear difference in meaning between sentences with 'so...that' and 'so that'.

Other examples of 'so...that' (a) are
He was so excited that he couldn't sleep.
She was so angry that her face turned purple.

Other examples of 'so that' (b) are
Please explain it so that a child can understand.
I did a lot of revision so that I could pass the test.

Hope that makes things clearer.
 
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Might be simpler to think in this way
a) focus is on how fast he ran
b) focus is on the reason he was running fast
 
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