English Grammar: So & Such

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

Examples:

  • “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

Examples:

  • “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 fool. Woman 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.

These are the basic differences about how we use so and such for intermediate or upper-intermediate grammar. Of course, there are other ways to use so and such that are more advanced as well. I hope this has been helpful.

– Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

Do you think you understand?

Let’s see! Take the test:

This has been a bad summer. There have been rainy days. Yesterday, it was rainy and cold. I tried to take the bus to school, but the bus was full that I couldn’t even get on. So I decided to walk to school. I didn’t have an umbrella so I got wet. I got wet that I had to change into my gym clothes when I finally got to school. I felt like an idiot in my gym clothes at school, but they were the only dry clothes I had. The weather can make life difficult sometimes.

Answers

This has been such a bad summer. There have been so many rainy days. Yesterday, it was rainy and cold. I tried to take the bus to school, but the bus was so full that I couldn’t even get on. So I decided to walk to school. I didn’t have an umbrella so I got wet. I got so wet that I had to change into my gym clothes when I finally got to school. I felt like such an idiot in my gym clothes at school, but they were the only dry clothes I had. The weather can make life so difficult sometimes.

 

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36 comments on “English Grammar: So & Such

  1. a kiran (Posted on 5-2-2013 at 08:53) Reply

    thank you…your explanation is very easy to undersatnd

    1. Said zafar Shah hashimi (Posted on 11-5-2015 at 03:06) Reply

      Thanks so much it is real the best methot for learning of language

  2. kobra. (Posted on 5-16-2013 at 13:00) Reply

    Thank you. your explanation was easy to understand.

  3. diana (Posted on 11-25-2013 at 18:55) Reply

    ok, very goog, is a manner practice of understand thamkyou for the information now put differencialy

  4. Niroshan (Posted on 1-28-2014 at 13:57) Reply

    Thank you… so good lession

    1. NOOOO! (Posted on 3-25-2015 at 13:52) Reply

      Such a good lesson :)

  5. waqar (Posted on 1-30-2014 at 16:00) Reply

    its was such usefull explanation . thank you so much

    1. jorge (Posted on 3-7-2014 at 21:08) Reply

      it was such A useful explanation !  :)

  6. bee (Posted on 3-3-2014 at 12:39) Reply

    Simple and to the point:-) really appreciate it

  7. Mai (Posted on 3-19-2014 at 05:54) Reply

    This is really helpful your explanation is really easy to understand

  8. toly (Posted on 9-2-2014 at 05:18) Reply

    it too hard when i was study it
    but….. when i do all this it ,it make me knew that it was so easy

  9. chenda vat (Posted on 9-19-2014 at 00:50) Reply

    it is very good for all students are studying to find of their knowledge

  10. Nika (Posted on 9-27-2014 at 11:05) Reply

    It is really good and your explanation is easy to understand. But, I think u should add the example because it can make me Know how many I understand from it.

  11. ANTON (Posted on 9-30-2014 at 14:56) Reply

    Excellent

  12. S M ARIF ULLAH (Posted on 10-3-2014 at 01:17) Reply

    Thank you so much for explanation such a topic.now i am abe to understand about so and such.

  13. Tran Dung (Posted on 1-3-2015 at 19:00) Reply

    Thanks a lot for explanation that is so easy to understand

  14. fatma (Posted on 3-9-2015 at 17:51) Reply

    thank you,really helpful.

  15. Sokchea (Posted on 4-29-2015 at 01:29) Reply

    Your explanation is easy to understand, so I and other people able to catch the meaning. I hope you will share knowledge any more.

  16. Dung (Posted on 5-3-2015 at 14:15) Reply

    Thank you very much

  17. Mesfin Tadesse (Posted on 5-16-2015 at 15:53) Reply

    Tnx ! It Is Very Easy To Understand

    1. Mesi (Posted on 11-9-2016 at 09:50) Reply

      It is well explained. Thanks

  18. Khals (Posted on 6-13-2015 at 17:25) Reply

    Thanks alot your explanaition is so strightfoward

  19. Digno Rodriguez (Posted on 7-23-2015 at 10:25) Reply

    Thank your exersices are very good to practice and understand

  20. sareth (Posted on 9-10-2015 at 05:54) Reply

    So good

  21. Gayantha Nissanka (Posted on 1-11-2016 at 07:54) Reply

    It’s a nice lesson in fact,I could understand it so easily.The difference between So & Such had been a entangled confusion for me for a long timw until I read this lesson.Thank you for this lesson!!

  22. manisha (Posted on 1-18-2016 at 08:34) Reply

    Its a nice page for understanding of “so”and”such”

  23. Anonymous (Posted on 2-16-2016 at 15:19) Reply

    can we use so a few cups of tea?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-16-2016 at 16:07) Reply

      No — you can say ‘so few cups of tea’. Remember, never use ‘a’ with a plural noun (cups)

  24. Jalill (Posted on 6-1-2016 at 14:45) Reply

    GOOD

  25. Yogesh (Posted on 8-5-2016 at 23:24) Reply

    I wish I had a teacher like you!

  26. Mary (Posted on 8-19-2016 at 13:37) Reply

    Thanks,there were so helpful.

  27. mehemmed (Posted on 9-25-2016 at 05:36) Reply

    very good

  28. mohamed adel hafez shalkamy (Posted on 10-29-2016 at 05:26) Reply

    what is the answer of that ( Mark is ……… nice little boy (so – such a )

    1. mb (Posted on 10-29-2016 at 10:51) Reply

      ‘such a’ because ‘boy’ is a noun.

  29. PN. (Posted on 11-23-2016 at 10:00) Reply

    The article is short & to the point which makes understanding concepts easy.Thanks. It has helped me to teach my son correctly when to use SO & SUCH.A great revision for me too.

  30. hey (Posted on 11-27-2016 at 19:34) Reply

    i dont remember how i ended up on this web page, but im sorry that my language is so hard

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