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English Grammar


Explanation on the use of so and such in English.

SO and SUCH often have the same meaning : 'very' or 'to this degree'.

So is used before an adjective or an adverb (without a noun after it):
  • so big
  • so carefully
So is also used before 'much / many / little / few'.
  • The children laughed so much.
  • They ate so many cakes.
  • We had so little time to the exercise.
  • He was surprised that so few people came.
Such is followed by 'a' or 'an' + an adjective + a singular noun :
  • such a long time
  • such a good film
  • such an incredible story
  • such an interesting book
Such is used without ''a' or 'an' before plural nouns, uncountable nouns (luggage, furniture), mass nouns (water, rice) and abstract nouns (advice, courage, generosity, kindness ... )
  • such fools
  • such (beautiful) furniture
  • such (clear) water
  • such generosity
Compare the following sentences:
  • This book is so interesting.
  • This is such an interesting book.
  • Such interesting books are hard to find.

  • I was amazed that the crowd was so big.
  • I was amazed that there was such a big crowd.
  • Such big crowds can be frightening.

  • The story was so complicated.
  • It was such a complicated story.
  • Such complicated stories are difficult to follow.

  • You are so intelligent.
  • You are such an intelligent person.
  • A person of such intelligence is a pleasure to meet.
'So ... that' and 'such ... that' are used to describe reasons and results:

So + adjective + that :
◊ The hotel was so comfortable that we decided to stay another night.

Such + adjective + noun + that :
◊ It's such a comfortable hotel that we'll definitely stay there again.

Expressions with 'such':
as such :
◊ "The job, as such, doesn’t appeal to him, but the salary is enticing."
◊ "There is no barrier, as such, just a row of trees between the two properties."
◊ "He was a great leader and should be remembered as such."
◊ "A police officer, as such, is entitled to respect."

such and such :
"My grandfather explained that he was going to do such and such in the garden."
◊ "We were given suggestions on how to introduce such and such a topic."
◊ "Graphs were shown on audiences in such and such a country."

no such thing :
◊ ”There’s no such thing as a mermaid.”
◊ ”There’s no such thing as a perfect person.”
◊ ”The walls were said to contain a treasure but no such thing was ever found."
◊ "You broke it:” "I did no such thing.”

to such an extent :
◊ "She protested to such an extent that an investigation was demanded."
◊ "The explanation was detailed to such an extent that it was hard to follow."
◊ "The vehicle was damaged to such an extent that it couldn't be repaired."

Try an exercise :

online exercise  |  printable version

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