One of the weird things about some English phrases is that we can jumble up the words, and still have the sentence make sense. For example, “In doing so” can become “in so doing”. Both of these phrases are grammatically correct, and people will know what you mean.
In Doing So Vs In So Doing: What Is The Difference?
“In doing so” and “In so doing” have the same meaning but different implications. “In doing so” is usually positive, such as when you’re motivating someone to do something. “In so doing” is more often negative, such as when you’re making someone aware of the negative consequences of their actions.
What Does Google Say At “In Doing So” Vs “In So Doing”?
If you’re ever confused about which version of a phrase you ought to use, one place to start could be Google Ngrams.
According to this graph, in the 1800s, “in so doing” was the more popular option. But, fast forward a hundred or so years, in 2019, “in doing so” had overtaken “in so doing”.
Perhaps one reason for that is just because we’ve become less formal. Now that it’s not just the aristocracy who are writing books, the language we find in them is a lot more down to earth, and closer to the kind of language we actually use.
9 Examples Of “In Doing So”
- “You gave $5000 to the local church. And in doing so, eliminated poverty from the whole city”
- “I watered the plants everyday. In doing so, I managed to create a jungle in my back garden”
- “I worked for 2 extra hours a day for a week. In doing so, by the end, I was able to afford a new car”
- “I voted to keep the project legal. In doing so, I managed to create an additional 3000 jobs”
- “She gave me her books. In doing so, she gave me a ticket to a whole new way of thinking. Life has not been the same since”
- “Batman stopped the Joker. In doing so, he also stopped all the other villains who wanted to destroy Gotham”
- “King Henry broke from Rome. In doing so, England had become the first country in Europe to set its own destiny”
- “My dog learnt how to do 10 tricks a day. In doing so, he became the smartest dog in the world”
- “I’ve just spent $300 on a new suit. In doing so, I managed to attract a woman who might become my wife”
9 Examples Of “In So Doing”
- “You stole $500 from the pot. In so doing, you stopped 5 families from being able to eat today”
- “He chopped down the tree. And in so doing, stopped our city from officially being the greenest in the country”
- “She broke up with her ex yesterday. In so doing, she made him go insane and kill 50 people. It was all over the news last week”.
- “He quit his job because he hated it. But in so doing, he made the company lose £1 million. It ended up becoming bankrupt last week”
- “They conquered the country 200 years ago. In so doing, they created issues and still last to this day”
- “The government withdrew funding from 15 different departments. In so doing, they plunged 20% of the country’s population back into poverty”
- “I ate 500 brugers. In so doing, I had diabetes at the age of 30”
- “He swam in the ocean. In so doing, he almost drowned and had to be rescued by a team of lifeguards”
- “She left the channel. And in so doing, their ratings plummeted and they had to go off air”
What Do “in Doing So” And “in So Doing” Mean?
Now that we’ve got more than enough examples to help you fully understand that “in doing so” is normally for positive things, but “in so doing” is more often for something negative, what do both phrases mean?
“In doing so” and “In so doing” just mean “As a result of the actions just spoken about”. In both phrases, the “so” refers to the action you’ve just spoken about.
“King Henry broke from Rome. In doing so, England had become the first country in Europe to set its own destiny”
Here, the “so” is the breaking of England from Rome.
In Doing So Vs In So Doing: It’s Not A Two Horse Race!
But of course, there are also plenty of other ways of saying “in doing so” and “in so doing”. But, here are just a few of them…
- “You gave $5000 to the local church. And because of this, you eliminated poverty from the whole city”
- “Batman stopped the Joker. Consequently, he also stopped all the other villains who wanted to destroy Gotham”
- “She left the channel. For that reason, their ratings plummeted and they had to go off air”
- “She gave me her books. Thusly, she gave me a ticket to a whole new way of thinking. Life has not been the same since”
In Doing So Or While Doing So. There Is A Difference
Another phrase that does sound a bit like “in doing so”, but has a different meaning is “while doing so”.
“In doing so” is talking about something that happened as a direct (or indirect) result of an action.
But “while doing so” is talking about something that the subject did at the same time. For example….
“I ate pie and in doing so, realised that life was good”. The realisation that life is good is a direct result of me eating the pie.
“I ate pie and while doing so, realised that life was good”. The pie didn’t make me realise life was good. I just happened to have that realisation while eating it.
And now you understand the very subtle difference between “in doing so” and “in so doing”.
When something positive happens, we would say “in doing so”. But when something negative happens, it’s more common to hear “in so doing”.
These are not set in stone rules, but rather general guidelines to help you understand other people better. And there is no reason for this to be how it is, much like other aspects of English, it is just because it is.
Both “in doing so” and “in so doing” mean “as a result of [what has just been said]”.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.