# 5.4: The Intensifiers So and Such

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The Intensifiers So and Such

The words So and Such have similar meanings in English; however, they are followed by different parts of speech when they are used as intensifiers.  (Intensifiers make words “stronger” and are often followed by a “that clause.”)  So is usually followed by and adjective or an adverb.  Such, on the other hand, is followed by a noun or noun phrase.  Note the examples below:

I sometimes get so tired from correcting compositions that I fall asleep at my desk.
Young children are sometimes so noisy that my ears begin to hurt.
My friend is so disabled that he can’t walk or see anymore.

My brother-in-law, who is 62 years old, is such a good tennis player that many good tennis players who are a lot younger can’t beat him
My wife is such a good cook that many women are afraid to cook for her
My sons are such nice men that other people congratulate me for raising them so well.

With non-count nouns do not use the indefinite articles a or an.  Note the examples:

The baby’s skin is so soft that everyone loves to touch it.
It is so wet outside in Seattle that the ground is often soggy.
Asian fruit is so sweet that people eat lots and lots of it.

My student has such long hair that it always get in his eyes.
The island of Okinawa has such nice and generous people that other people really like and admire them a lot.
Today has been such a beautiful day that I don’t want to go to work.

Oftentimes, people don’t use the that clause after so and such because the that clause is understood and doesn’t need saying (or writing).  Note examples:

The boys when they got home from the playground were so dirty.
My great grandfather was so old when I saw him.
My mother was so happy when I returned from the war.

My friend Roger was such a good teacher.
Yesterday was such a beautiful day.
My friend has such a beautiful garden.

Because so and such are so similar in meaning yet have very different grammar rules, many non-native speakers confuse them when speaking or writing.  Compare the two sentences below.  Both of them “mean” the same thing, but their grammar is quite different.

This cake is so delicious.
This is such a delicious cake.

Be careful not to say any of the following:

This cake is such delicious or so delicious cake or so a delicious cake. (All Bad)

An alternate form is to use so adjective a or an followed by a singular noun.  Note examples:

She is so nice a person.
He was so hard a worker.
It has been so difficult a grammar explanation.

We can use so with quantity expressions such as so much, so few, so many, and so little, etc. However, we cannot use such with quantity expressions.  Note the examples below.

He is sad because he has so few friends in his new neighborhood.
My neighbor has so many cars that his yard looks like a used car dealership.
I had so little time to do the examination.
My friend had so much hair on his chest.

Exercise 16:  Use the following expressions to form sentences, please.

1.  so good

2.  such an old shirt

3.  so tired

4.  such a good boy

5.  so few

6.  so many books

7.  so slowly

8.  such a small piece of cake

9.  so many customers

10.  such lovely children

11.  such an impolite person

12.  such bad boys

13.  so rich

Exercise 17:  Circle the best correct answer, please.

1.  The cars on the freeway drive ----------------------- that I am afraid to drive on them.

a. such rapid        b. so rapidly        c. such a rapid            d. such rapidly

2.  The football game had ----------------------- that there were no empty seats.

a. so much fans   b. so many fans   c. such many fans      d. such a fan

3.  That restaurant serves -------------------------.

a. such good food       b. so good a food c. such good foods     d. so good a food

4.  Bill Gates is ----------------------- that he has his own airplane.

a. so rich man             b. such rich person     c. so rich             d. such a rich people

5.   I was ------------------------- that I fell asleep on the sofa at 8:30.

a. such a very tired     b. so tired person c. so much tired  d. so tired

6.  Xuan always wears ------------------------- that all the women comment on it.

a. such nice clothes    b. such a nice clothes     c. so nice a clothes      d. so nice dresses

7.  Mr. Bourret is ------------------------ that all the students like him a lot.

a. such good teacher  b. such a good teachers   c. so good teacher     d. so good a teacher

8.  I loved my vacation, but I spent ------------------------ that I will need to work overtime.

a. so much money      b. so a lot of money   c. such much money  d. so many money

9.  My mother was ---------------------- that all my friends wanted to entertain her at dinner.

a. such funny a person                       b. such a funny person
c. so much funny                               d. so fun person

5.4: The Intensifiers So and Such is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Don Bissonnette.