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General Writing and Grammar Help/difference between 'so' and 'or so'


She appeared to be enjoying herself, so the pigeons said. None of the animals ever mentioned Mollie again.

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If I use 'or so' instead of 'so', and rewrite the sentence in the following way, what difference in meaning will arise?

"She appeared to be enjoyed herself, 'or so' the pigeons said. None of the animals ever mentioned Mollie again."

Thanks to all.


So the pigeons said indicates that Mollie was having a good time, according to the birds. Conversely, Mollie might not have been so happy as we think, considering that the pigeons were the ones doing the evaluating, or so they said.

I hope that makes sense since there is only a shade of difference with the or.

Jerry Leone  

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Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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