Here are two sentences from "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar":

Are you sure you can study like that?

Oh, that's how you fix it?

It seems to me that in both of these sentences, それで and そうして are being used to mean "like that". Are they interchangeable in this context? Or is there some subtlety I'm missing?


1 Answer 1


No, they are not interchangeable.

それで is それ marked with the particle で. In your example, it refers to the general situation in which the speaker sees the listener to be, or the manner in which the latter is doing something at the time. The sentence implies the listener is being idle or not studying hard enough by the speaker’s standards.

(lit.) Do you think you are studying with (the situation being) that?

そうして is そう followed by the て-form of the verb する. It is interchangeable with そのようにして or そうやって, although the first alternative sounds much more formal and the second a little more colloquial than そうして.

(lit.) Do you fix it by doing so?

If そうして is replaced with それで, the sentence would be understood as referring to some concrete tool or means.

(lit.) Do you fix it with that (thing)?

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