One vs so (I am a member and will remain so/one unless I am fired)

Are these sentences both correct:

  1. I am a member and will remain so unless I am fired.

  2. I am a member and will remain one unless I am fired.

Hello Navi,

#2 is fine; but with “so” in that sense, an adjective would be more usual than a noun, e.g.

1a. I am loyal and diligent, and will remain so unless I am fired.

All the best,

MrP

Examples:

[color=blue]“If you want your holidays, you have them in the summer time and May Day is a workers’ day. It’s nothing to do with politics, with the Labour Party, the Conservative or the Communist Party. It’s always been a workers’ day and I hope it will remain so.”

Trade Union Annual Congress (Busn). Rec. on 6 Jun 1993.

[color=blue]“We have shown our commitment to better equipment by our recent purchase of the Westland helicopter and our decision to re-equip the Army with the Challenger II tank. Both were expensive but necessary purchases to ensure that our armed forces have the best possible equipment. That is our policy and will remain so.”

[Hansard extracts 1991–1992]. London: HMSO, 1992

[color=blue]"perhaps some form of contraception did account for William and Mary Ann stopping short at those four children? Either that, or they may have practised the oldest and surest method of them all for preventing unwanted pregnancies --; abstinence from sexual relations. That is their secret, and will remain so; it behoves us not to pry, only to speculate in passing. "

The Titford family 1547–1947. Titford, John. Chichester: Phillimore & Company Ltd, 1989

[color=blue]“It is the last bastion against all these evils, and will remain so as long as it keeps acquiring books it does not have when they are found and brought to it.”

The strange rise of semi-literate England: the dissolution of libraries. West, W J. London: Gerald Duckworth & Company Ltd, 1992,

Thanks Mr. P and Molly.
Hi Molly,
I don’t understand whether your examples are supposed to illustrate what Mr. P. says or to contradict it.
You have proven that ‘so’ can be used with nouns, but my problem is that in most of your sentences ‘one’ cannot be used at all and so the question as to which word has to be used cannot even be asked.

Mr. P. said that with ‘so’ used in that sense, an adjective would be more usual. I assume that pertains to cases where there is a choice between ‘one’ and ‘so’. In your examples we have nouns, but in three of the examples, one cannot replace ‘so’ with ‘one’. Only in the first one could ‘one’ be used instead of ‘so’, because we are talking about ‘a workers’ day’ and yet even here, I am not sure that the speaker intends to say that there are more than one workers’ day. I think he should have said ‘workers’ day’ instead of ‘a workers’ day. How many workers’ days are there after all?

In any case, Mr. P doesn’t seem to think that sentence 1 is incorrect. If I am not mistaken he just thinks that ‘one’ would be more usual than ‘so’ in that sentence. Do you think 1 is out and out incorrect, or do you think it is just as good as 2?

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I agree with MrP. A sentence with the structure “I am a(n) X and will remain one” also sounds more natural to me.
Using the word ‘so’ is a bit odd in that sentence. To me ‘will remain so’ basically means ‘will remain that way’.

However, if descriptive words (adjectives) were used with the word ‘member’, it would work better:
“I am a loyal and diligent member, and will remain so…”
(In other words, the word ‘so’ focuses on the description.)
.

Yes, I think that’s it, Amy:

  1. I am a loyal member and will remain so.

Here, as in M’s examples, the “so” seems to relate to the adjective, not the noun.

I should probably have added “adverbial” to “adjective”, e.g.

  1. He’s in a bad way; and likely to remain so.

MrP

Neither. They are to illustrate uses with a “noun”.

I don’t think it’s got anything to do with “adjectives” vs nouns, and so on.

All these are heard:

He is a big jerk, and will remain so all his life.
He is a jerk, and will remain so all his life.
The universe is an mystery to us, and will probably remain so.
The universe is a great mystery to us, and will probably remain so.
“Charlie Wilson’s War” is a mystery, and will remain so until December.
“Charlie Wilson’s War” is a celluloid mystery, and will remain so until December.
compatibility is a priority and will remain so
compatibility is a top priority and will remain so

So, yes, this is correct:

1-I am a member and will remain so unless I am fired.

Hi Navi

All of the following sentences sound odd to me if you are simply trying to say the person will remain a teacher/a member.

He is a teacher and will remain so unless …”
He is a teacher and will remain the same unless …”
I am a member and will remain that way unless …”
I am a member and will remain like that unless …”

And once again, if the noun in the sentence with ‘so’ had more description (for example, if one or more adjectives were added), it would sound OK to me.

One of the usages of ‘so’ is as a replacement for an adjective that has already been mentioned. Here are examples from the Cambridge Dictionary:

  • She’s quite reasonable to work with - more so than I was led to believe.
  • He’s quite bright - well, certainly more so than his brother.

Another way to use the word ‘so’ is as a pronoun. For some reason I couldn’t find ‘so’ listed as a pronoun in either the Oxford or Cambridge online dictionaries. However, the definition for ‘so’ as a pronoun in the American Heritage Dictionary is this:

And this is the example sentence given:

(Note the use of an adjective.)

If you look for ‘so’ used as a pronoun at Dictionary.com, you will find this:

(Again, note the use of the adjective in the example!)

Although MrP is from the UK and I’m from the US, we agree that your first sentence is not particularly natural.

Look at the examples for “and will remain so” here:
sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/sa … +remain+so
Pay close attention to descriptions and the use of adjectives in combination with “and will remain so”. :wink:
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Is it that you are not too familiar with formal registers? Many of your posts seem to reject formal language or language from registers which you simply haven’t come across.

Note the absence of an adjective:

“He was very good and always replied to them with letters full of detail, including how to build your own Currie Wot from plans obtainable. In later life he became a friend and remained so until his death at 90 a few years ago.”

trasksdad.com/PopsProgress/Hawkins.html

Although I was never tempted to resume my ecstacy, Ayer carefully criticized my writings and gradually became a friend and remained so, even to the degree of tolerating my conversion to nativism and rationalism in my books on Chomsky and generative linguistics.

mailer.fsu.edu/~jleiber/APHILOSO … INACRE.htm

“And + was/remained/stayed, etc + so”, in the use above, is equal to “and + was/remained/stayed, etc + that way” and “and + was/remained/stayed, etc + unchanged/unmoved, etc.”. The unit is found working as anaphor for adjectives which appear in the sentence, but the unit does not demand adjectives be placed in the sentence. The unit is also found as anaphor for the noun/s in the sentence.

No Molly. I’d suggest instead that it is you who lacks familiarity with usage and you simply don’t want to admit that. You seem to think that anything that sounds odd must be formal.
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It’s interesting that three native speakers should differ on this point. Consider these examples:

  1. He is a troublemaker, and is likely to remain so.
  2. He is quite unpleasant, and is likely to remain so.
  3. He is an unpleasant child, and is likely to remain so.

For those who do not find #1 uncomfortable, “so” presumably operates as a pronoun: it carries the meaning “troublemaker”. That can’t be the case in #2, however, where “so” relates to “unpleasant”; nor in #3, where it can also only relate to “unpleasant”. (The speaker does not mean that “he” is likely to remain a “child”, but that “he” is likely to remain “unpleasant”.)

This suggests to me that “so” is a normal adverb in this structure, and describes the manner of “remaining”. In which case, the slight discomfort of #1 might be explained: “so” can carry the meaning of “unpleasant” in #2 and #3, because the adjective is qualitative; but not in #1, where the noun renames the subject.

Or to put it another way: #1 throws an error for me because the variable “so” is empty.

MrP

Good point, MrP.
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How about here? Is “so” empty, IYO?

Look! That’s the Sear’s building over there.
So it is!

And what do you think of these?

“He is a teacher and will remain that unless …”
“He is a teacher and will remain that way unless …”
“He is a bad teacher and will remain that unless …”
“He is a bad teacher and will remain that way unless …”

“He is a teacher, and so is his sister.”

Discussion on pro-forms needed?

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That last post brings apples and oranges to mind. :?
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In what way/How so?

  1. He is a teacher and will remain that unless …

— “that” here = pronoun; thus could carry the meaning of “teacher”; but unidiomatic.

  1. He is a teacher and will remain that way unless …

— a “teacher” is not a “way”. Thus “that way” is an empty variable.

  1. He is a bad teacher and will remain that unless …

— as #1.

  1. He is a bad teacher and will remain that way unless …

— awkward; but “that way” could carry the meaning of “bad”. (That it carries “bad”, not “teacher”, can be inferred from the likely continuations, in which “he” remains a teacher, but is no longer “bad”; e.g. “unless we send him on one of Molly’s training courses”.)

  1. He is a teacher, and so is his sister.

— “so” here = adverbial (“equally”).

  1. Discussion on pro-forms needed?

— “pro-forms” here = “cop-out”.

MrP

‘He’ might then go from being a ‘bad teacher’ to someone who disgorges Google numbers and argues with himself – just like Molly would.

Maybe Google ought to be renamed. Something such as Mollywood perhaps.
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That’s a good one, Amy :lol: