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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9 Comments on this News Lesson

  1. a kiran
    (Posted May 2, 2013 at 08:53 | Permalink | Reply)

    thank you…your explanation is very easy to undersatnd

  2. kobra.
    (Posted May 16, 2013 at 13:00 | Permalink | Reply)

    Thank you. your explanation was easy to understand.

  3. diana
    (Posted November 25, 2013 at 18:55 | Permalink | Reply)

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

  4. Niroshan
    (Posted January 28, 2014 at 13:57 | Permalink | Reply)

    Thank you… so good lession

  5. waqar
    (Posted January 30, 2014 at 16:00 | Permalink | Reply)

    its was such usefull explanation . thank you so much

    • jorge
      (Posted March 7, 2014 at 21:08 | Permalink | Reply)

      it was such A useful explanation !  :)

  6. bee
    (Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:39 | Permalink | Reply)

    Simple and to the point:-) really appreciate it

  7. Mai
    (Posted March 19, 2014 at 05:54 | Permalink | Reply)

    This is really helpful your explanation is really easy to understand

  8. toly
    (Posted September 2, 2014 at 05:18 | Permalink | 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

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