In last week’s post, we saw the difference between “too” and “enough”, and we concluded that those two words were closely related in usage to “so” and “such” and the structure “so/such…that”. So let us not dilly-dally, let’s get down to business…
“So” and “such” have many different meanings, but the one that crops up quite frequently and that is our subject of interest today is that of “to a great extent or high degree”. Moreover, they are quite often used in the structure “so/such…that…”, where “that” is followed by a consequence of result of the previous clause. For instance:
I was so tired that I couldn’t be bothered to go out. (so tired –> that I couldn’t…)
There was such noise at night that I found it impossible to fall asleep. (such noise –> that I found it…)
However, just like “too” and “enough”, these two words are used in different ways:
How to use “so”
The word “so” will normally appear in the following structures:
1. so + adjective + (that) + clause
She was so angry with him that she didn’t talk to him for a whole week.
This book is so interesting that I can’t put it down for a minute.
2. so + adverb + (that) + clause
The man spoke so quickly that I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying.
That guy was driving so fast that he lost control when trying to turn.
3. so + few/many/little/much + noun + (that) + clause
There were so few people that the place seemed almost empty. (countable noun)
There were so many people that I found it difficult to breathe. (countable noun)
Rachel had so little money that she couldn’t catch the bus. (uncountable noun)
The tsunami had caused so much damage that the city had to be rebuilt. (uncountable noun)
How to use “such”
The word “such” will normally appear in the following structures:
1. such + (adjective) + uncountable/plural noun + (that) + clause
There are such bad politicians in Spain that the country is now facing a deep crisis. (plural noun)
He felt such guilt for what he’d done that he ended up committing suicide.
2. such + a/an + (adjective) + singular noun + (that) + clause
The Alhambra in Granada is such a spectacular monument that everyone should visit it at least once.
3. such + a lot of + (adjective) + uncountable/plural noun + (that) + clause
Some people have such a lot of money that they could afford to buy a different car every day. (uncountable noun)
There were such a lot of people that I could hardly breathe. (countable noun)
So you can see that “so” and “such” can be synonyms but do not appear in the same structures.
Now that you have read the explanation, why not try the following quiz. Complete each gap with “so“, “such“, “such a” or “such an“. Good luck!
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