Posted by: Idioma Extra | February 26, 2014

Grammar Guru

Such and So



The Basics: How to Use “So” and “Such”

Look at this sentence: Lisa is so beautiful woman. 

Does the grammar look okay to you? If you think so, then you need to study the rules of so and such again because the sentence is wrong!

Let’s review the basic grammar rules for so and such:

so + adjective

  • “This test is so hard.”
  • “Jack can run so fast.”
  • “The movie was so sad (that) Peter cried.

In both of these sentences, so comes before an adjective (i.e. the words “hard” and “sad”).

Meaning: The meaning of the word “so” in the 1st and 3nd sentence is similar to “very.” “This test is so hard” is similar to “This test is very hard.” In the 3rd sentence, “so” tells you how sad the movie was. How sad was it? Sad enough to make Peter cry. That is the extent (the level of sadness). The movie was “so sad that Peter cried.” That is how sad it was.

such + adjective + noun

  • “Lisa is such a beautiful woman .”
  • “I don’t want to swim in such dirty water.
  • “Doug is such a fool.”

“Such” in these sentences has the same meaning as “so” from the sentence “This test is so hard.”  But you cannot use “so” if a noun comes after it. This is a rule. That is why we use “such.” The nouns in the above sentences are woman, water, and foolWoman and fool are countable singular nouns, so the sentences also need an article (“a”). Water is an uncountable noun, so it does not need an article (a/an or the).

Exception: so + [many/much/few/little] noun”So” can come before a noun IF the adjectives many/much/few/little also come before the noun. These sentences are correct:

  • “There are so many balloons!” (balloons = countable noun, so we use “many”)
  • “Mike drank so much beer.” (beer = uncountable noun, so we use “much”)
  • “He has so few friends.” (friends = countable noun, so we use “few”)
  • “We have so little time.” (time = uncountable noun, so we use “little”)

This is a special case.


Now, take a quick quiz about such and so!


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