HOME > 翻訳 > なるほど!英訳塾(ビギナー編)第五回

なるほど!英訳塾 ~ビギナー編~

タイトル

こんにちは!塾長のソーキンです。

文法を勉強するとき、皆さんはどんな文法書、あるいはインターネットの資料を参考にしますか。こうした参考資料には色々なルールが書いてありますが、実際に生の英語に触れてみて、「あれ?書いてあることと違う」と思ったことはないでしょうか。

今回はそんな例の一つとして、学校の授業でもおなじみだった“so that” を取りあげてみたいと思います。ネイティブはどんな風に “so that” を使い分けているのでしょう。

では、さっそく今日のレッスンに入ります。

In today’s session, I’m going to focus on the use of ‘so that’ to indicate purpose and result. One way of distinguishing between the two is that when ‘so that’ is used to indicate result, it is preceded by a comma, but when it is used to indicate purpose, it is not preceded by a comma.

But of course, this is not a hard and fast rule that everybody adheres to. So, we will find examples of ‘so that’ indicating purpose with a comma as in (1) and (2), and examples of ‘so that’ indicating results without a comma as in (3).

(1) Monitor all issues of controversy, so that critics can be met with facts and ensure that facts are readily available as soon as possible.

(2) Miss Baker knew that the young man would have to leave very soon, so she decided to ask him to move his car a bit, so that she could park hers in the proper place for the night before going to bed.

(3) A ring that fell down in the laser marking process was incorrectly handled so that it got mixed into the rings for TR.

Some grammar books suggest that when ‘so that’ expresses purpose, it has the same meaning as ‘in order to’ and in many cases, the two are interchangeable. For example, (4a) below can be re-phrased using ‘in order to’ as in (4b).

(4a) We got up early so that we could see the sunrise.

(4b) We got up early in order to see the sunrise.

On the other hand, when ‘so that’ expresses result, the first clause can be rephrased using ‘because’ as shown in (5a) and (5b) below.

(5a) I got up early, so that I could catch the first train.

(5b) Because I got up early, I could catch the first train.

However, in many cases, sentences using 'so that' to express purpose can be re-phrased using 'because'. For example, (6a) below can be re-phrased using ‘because’ even though the relationship between the two clauses is clearly not one of cause and result/effect.

(6a) We hack so that you don't have to.

(6b) Because we hack, you don't have to. (You don’t have to hack because we do it for you.)

(7a) is a made-up example to show that when ‘so that’ is used to express purpose, it can be re-phrased using both ‘in order to’ as in (7b) and ‘because’ as in (7c).

(7a) I used to drive for five hours every night so that I could make myself tired and have a good night’s sleep.

(7b) I used to drive for five hours every night in order to make myself very tired and have a good night’s sleep.

(7c) Because I used to drive for five hours every night, I could make myself very tired and have a good night’s sleep.

So, it seems that besides replacement by ‘in order to’ and ‘because’, we need something more to differentiate between the two. I would like to suggest the idea of controllable action in the first clause as an additional factor to consider. Let’s look at the following examples.

(8a) The car broke down, so that they had to walk.
(8b) Because the car broke down, they had to walk.
(8c) The car broke down in order to make them walk. (???)

(9a) The sea got rough, so that we had to give up fishing.
(9b) Because the sea got rough, we had to give up fishing.
(9c) The sea got rough in order to make us give up fishing. (???)

(10a) I was excited, so that I could not get to sleep.
(10b) Because I was excited, I could not get to sleep.
(10c) I was excited in order not to get to sleep. (???)

As shown in (8c), (9c) and (10c), when the first clause has an inanimate subject or describes an uncontrollable action or state, it is difficult to re-phrase the relationship between the two clauses as a purpose construction. Consider the next example.

(11a) I had broken my glasses, so that I couldn't see the blackboard.

(11b) Because I had broken my glasses, I couldn't see the blackboard.

(11c) I had broken my glasses in order to make myself unable to see the blackboard. (?)

(11d) I had broken my glasses on purpose so that I couldn't see the blackboard.

As shown in (11c), it is possible to interpret (11a) as a purpose construction because the first clause describes a controllable action. If we add words like ‘on purpose’ or ‘deliberately’ to show the planned and controlled aspect of the action as in (11d), the sentence becomes even more natural.

(12a) Speak clearly so that everyone may hear you.

(12b) Speak clearly in order to let everyone hear you.

(12) is an example of ‘so that’ used to express purpose in a command. Again, the first clause contains an action that is planned or controlled. This explains why commands, requests or instructions are compatible only with this use of ‘so that’.

Going back to (3a), which is repeated below as (13a), if we re-phrase it as a purpose construction using ‘in order to’ as in (13c) below, it will be acceptable in a situation where the action of mishandling is done deliberately as in (13d).

(13a) A ring which fell down in the laser marking process was incorrectly handled so that it got mixed into the rings for TR.

(13b) Because a ring which fell down in the laser marking process was incorrectly handled, it got mixed into the rings for TR.

(13c) A ring which fell down in the laser marking process was incorrectly handled in order to get it mixed into the rings for TR. (?)

(13d) A ring which fell down in the laser marking process was mishandled deliberately in order to get it mixed into the rings for TR.

So, what do you think? Please try to find more examples of ‘so that’ and test the distinction between controllable and uncontrollable actions I suggested today. Let me know if you find exceptions. Or if you find additional features we should add to make the distinction even clearer.

*All examples except for (7a-c), which are made-up examples, and (3), which is an actual translation example, are taken from various sources on the Internet including the Tanaka Corpus.


“so that” が「目的」なのか「結果」なのかを見極めるヒント、参考になりましたでしょうか。

言葉は生きていますから、文法書のルールが常に通用するかというと、必ずしもそうではないでしょう。ここでご紹介したヒントも決して100%その通りとはいえませんが、判断材料としてぜひ覚えていていただきたいものです。

今回の内容に限らず質問や疑問がありましたら、ぜひ こちらにメールをお寄せください。

次回もお楽しみに!

  目次へ戻る  

↑Page Top

プロフィール

ンー・ソーキン

ンー・ソーキンさん:Ng Soh King
シンガポール出身。シンガポール大学で日本語を専攻した後、ハワイ、日本、オーストラリアの大学に通い言語学博士号を取得。その間、シンガポール大学の教壇に立ち、日本語や翻訳を教える。2005年よりフリーランス翻訳者として活躍。幅広い分野の翻訳をこなすが、今後、金融・医薬分野での翻訳に力を入れていきたいと希望。香港在住。