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:
- “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.
- “Lisa is such a beautiful .”
- “I don’t want to swim in such dirty .
- “Doug is such a .”
“Such” in these sentences has the same meaning as “so” from the sentence “This test is so hard.” But you cannot use “so” if acomes 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).
“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.
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.