Blog Grammar Rules Can You Start a Sentence With So?

Can You Start a Sentence With So?

Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Author and Freelance Writer

Published Aug 27, 2022

can you start a sentence with so

The word so can be a conjunction, a filler word, an adverb, or a pronoun in English. With all these different functions, it can be hard to remember all the grammar rules for so.

Can you start a sentence with so? Yes, you can start sentences with so. But in some formal writing, it might be better to use another word.

Contents:
  1. Can You Start a Sentence With So?
  2. Examples of Starting a Sentence With So
  3. Another Word for So to Start a Sentence
  4. Tips for Using So in a Sentence

Can You Start a Sentence With So?

You can start sentences with so, but the rules on how to do so depend on the function that so is serving.

So is one of the seven coordinating conjunctions in the English language. A coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses.

Usually, coordinating conjunctions connect clauses alongside a comma, but sometimes it’s better to separate the clauses into two sentences. Typically, we do this when the first clause is long to prevent wordy, confusing sentences.

You can start a sentence with so

When so acts as a coordinating conjunction (a word that connects independent clauses), it’s synonymous with “therefore.” When you’re using the conjunction so, the sentence that it starts must relate back to the previous sentence.

If you aren’t sure if it’s grammatically correct to start a sentence with so, try replacing it with “therefore” and see if it makes sense.

Here’s an example of a sentence beginning with so:

  • I only had one diaper left, and my baby always needs a diaper change before morning. So I had to run to the store late at night.

The second sentence relates back to the previous sentence because it’s showing the effect of the first sentence. If we kept it as one sentence, it would be excessively long. The passage flows better by starting the second sentence with so.

Often, so acts as a filler word at the beginning of a sentence. This is not considered acceptable for formal writing, however. Only use so as a filler word in informal situations. Let’s look at an example:

  • So, are you guys coming to the party on Saturday?

How to punctuate a sentence starting with so

It’s less common to use so as an adverb or pronoun at the beginning of a sentence, but it can happen. Here’s an example of so functioning as a pronoun:

Person 1: Jennifer broke up with Chad.

Person 2: So I heard.

This is an example of a sentence starting with so as an adverb:

  • So many people love you.

Can You Start a Sentence With So That?

So that is a subordinating conjunction that can start a dependent clause.

  • So that you can see the process in real time, I’ve sent over a video I recorded.

Can You End a Sentence with So?

It’s not common to end a sentence with so, but it can be done. It usually happens when so functions as a pronoun. Check out the example below:

  • I will arrive around 5 p.m. or so.

You may also see so end a sentence when it’s acting as an adverb. Here are two examples:

  • May it be so.
  • I love you so.

Note that so will never end a sentence as a coordinating conjunction.

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Examples of Starting a Sentence With So

Let’s check out some examples of starting sentences with so.

The first set of examples will feature two sentences, with so starting the second one, to illustrate so as a coordinating conjunction.

  • I was exhausted, and I had a lot of work to do. So I stopped for a coffee before my meeting.
  • The boss sent a memo that many of the employees found confusing. So they asked to have a meeting for more information.
  • It’s going to be hot when we go to the beach, and we’ll be there most of the day. So bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • In our next meeting, we’ll be looking at the metrics from this quarter. So please take a look at the spreadsheet before our meeting.
  • They were fighting all the time, and he refused to go to couples’ therapy. So she filed for divorce.

Now, let’s take a look at some examples where so is a filler word at the beginning of a sentence. Notice that these examples have a comma after so.

  • So, do you think you’ll be able to meet your deadline for the report?
  • So, I told him that I didn’t think this was a great time to start a relationship.
  • So, first you mix the dry ingredients together, then make a well in the center for the egg.
  • So, where is the best place to get a drink in this town?

Finally, here are a few examples of sentences where so functions as an adverb or a pronoun at the beginning of a sentence.

  • So few people understand the difference between proofreading and editing.
  • So it goes.
  • So many books to read, so little time.

Another Word for So to Start a Sentence

So often sounds informal, even when it’s grammatically acceptable to use in a formal setting. You can always use another word in place of so to begin sentences.

Here are some other words you can use in place of so when it’s acting as a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence:

  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • For this reason
  • Accordingly
  • Consequently
  • Ergo
  • Then

Synonyms for so

Tips for Using So in a Sentence

The grammatical rules for using a comma with so depend on the function of so.

When using so as a filler word to begin a sentence, place a comma directly after so. You should also put a comma before the filler word so when it appears in the middle of a sentence.

In the middle of a sentence, use a comma before so when it’s acting as a coordinating conjunction. For all other uses of so, no comma is needed.

If you’re using formal language, try to avoid beginning a sentence with so whenever possible. Even if it’s grammatically correct, it can still sound too informal.

If you’re starting a sentence with so as an adverb to add emphasis, ask yourself if that’s the best way to write it. It’s often better to leave off so in these situations. Here’s an example:

  • So many people attended the conference.

vs

  • Many people attended the conference.

Overusing the word so can bog down your writing. Whenever you see so at the beginning of a sentence, ask yourself if you can use a different word, or omit it completely.

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You can use ProWritingAid’s Sentence Structure Report to highlight any sentence patterns you may be overusing.


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Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Author and Freelance Writer

Krystal N. Craiker is an author and freelance writer. She is the author of the Scholars of Elandria fantasy series. When she isn't writing, you can find her playing board games and volunteering. Krystal lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable dogs. Visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

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