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From this text:

¿Son esas diferencias lo suficientemente grandes para descartar la variación debido al azar como una posible explicacíon para la diferencia observada?

What is the purpose of "lo" here? Can son esas diferencias suficientemente grandes.... be used?

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2 Answers 2

Can "Son esas diferencias suficientemente grandes..." be used?

From what I've seen/heard, I say either phrase, with or without "lo", could be used without changing the meaning of the sentence.

I found this thread on WordReference, which discusses the same question and has varying responses (none of which seems to be definitive, and none of which makes major distinctions between the two). I'm not a native speaker, but I've asked around (as this is an interesting question), and most say there is no difference or, unconvincingly, that the "lo" gives the phrase a degree of emphasis.

So, if your question is for practical purposes, my conclusion is that you could use either formulation and be ok. If the question is purely academic, then wait for an answer from a Spanish grammarian. If your case is the latter, you might look at the very last answer (currently) on that WordReference thread. It attempts to explain the grammatical difference, though I'm unsure about its accuracy.

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Lets go back and analyze the sentence.

¿Son / esas diferencias / lo suficientemente grandes / para descartar la variación / debido al azar / como una posible explicacíon / para la diferencia observada?

Now lets reorder it!

¿Son / lo suficientemente grandes, / esas diferencias, / para descartar la variación / debido al azar / como una posible explicacíon / para la diferencia observada?

and again:

¿Son / esas diferencias, / para descartar la variación / debido al azar / como una posible explicacíon / para la diferencia observada, / lo suficientemente grandes?

(I took liberties with the comma)

You can reorder however you want, with and without the "lo" and you will find that it is not critical for the sentence to keep their meaning. So, in this peculiar is not. Now lets see how I can make that it becomes critical:

¿Lo suficientemente grandes / son / esas diferencias / para descartar la variación / debido al azar / como una posible explicacíon / para la diferencia observada?

¿Suficientemente grandes / son / esas diferencias / para descartar la variación / debido al azar / como una posible explicacíon / para la diferencia observada?

I failed to make so.

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