the difference between words: so and such

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Many of my students get confused about how to use the words “so” and “such” correctly. Sometimes they say things like, “My friend is so nice guy.” or “It is such hot today.” These sentences are completely wrong in terms of grammar.

When we use the word “so”, it is followed by an adjective. When we use the word “such”, it is followed the article “a” or “an”, then by an adjective and finally, by a noun. Sometimes there is no adjective in the sentence at all. For example:

My friend is so nice.

My friend is such a nice guy.

My friend is such a gentleman.

It’s so hot today.

It’s such a hot day today.

It’s such a scorcher today.

Harriet is so intelligent.

Harriet is such an intelligent woman.

Harriet is such a genius.

In case you’re wondering, the word “scorcher” in the sixth sentence is a casual word that refers to a very hot day. The word “scorch” has a similar meaning to the word “burn”.

It’s important to note that when we use “such”, we only use “a” or “an” in the sentence if the noun is countable. If the noun is uncountable, we must drop the article. For example:

This is such good wine. Where did you get it?

My guidebook gave me such useful information.

We had such beautiful weather during our vacation.

It’s also possible to use “so” with an adverb. For example:

My sister dances so well.

The construction job was done so badly.

Please note that we cannot use “such” with adverbs.

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13 Comments »

  1. Suad Said:

    I am mixed between ” so and such”

    Now it is so clear.

    It is such a clear grammer. 😉

  2. maria Said:

    you gave me such a useful lesson …thank you very much…very good explanations

  3. Nancy Said:

    According to the rule: such +adj (many) + noun (hats), “such” should be used in the following sentence:

    I have so many hats that I need two closets to store them all.

    However, it will not sound right if “so” is replaced with “such” in
    the above. Can you help me and explain it?

    thanks

    • Hi there.

      As you already know, there are always exceptions to grammar rules in English (or any language). The word “many” is officially an adjective but, in my opinion, it’s not a regular adjective because its function is to talk about the amount of something rather than describing it. I would say we should think of things like “so much”, “so many”, “too much”, and “too many” as being units that always go together.

      I hope that helps you.

      Mike

      • strangelish Said:

        How would you explain, “It was such fun”? there is an adjective without a noun, but we use ‘such’ and not ‘so’.

        It was so nice!
        BUT
        It was such fun!

      • Hi there.

        That’s a very interesting question you have. I hadn’t thought about the word “fun” before. It doesn’t really fit the normal pattern in this case. However, I would say that because the word has two functions, as an uncountable noun and as an adjective, that is the reason why we say “It was such fun”.

        Mike

  4. nirvair singh Said:

    i got great answer.now i am confusion free from so and such.

  5. Ahmed Said:

    Thank you for awesome information
    but i wanna ask u about
    “it was such fun”
    Fun is adjective isn’t it ?

    • Hi there.

      The word “fun” is both an adjective and a noun. In this case, it’s a noun.

      Thanks for your question.

      Mike

      • Ahmed Said:

        i’m sorry but why it noun here ?

      • It’s an uncountable noun here because we use the word “such”. If it was being used as an adjective, we would use “so”. For example: “It was so fun.”

        Both sentences are possible and natural in English.

        Mike

  6. ali Said:

    Excellent

  7. sreenu Said:

    it is such a useful topic for me sir thank you


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