'so' and 'such'

Do you know how to use the words so and such?

Look at these examples to see how so and such are used.

She's so interesting!
This is such an interesting book.
A new phone costs so much money these days.
Traffic in the city centre is such a nightmare!

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

'so' and 'such': Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation 

We can use so and such to intensify adjectives, adverbs and nouns.

Adjectives and adverbs

We can use so with an adjective or adverb to make it stronger.

It's so hot today!
She looks so young in that photo.
He walks so slowly. It's so annoying!

If we are using the comparative form of the adjective or adverb, we use so much to make it stronger.

They were so much more innocent when they were younger.
I work so much more quickly when I can concentrate.

Nouns

With a noun or adjective + noun, we use such to make it stronger. 

You're such an angel!
It's such a hot day today!
They're such lovely trousers. Where did you buy them?

However, when we use much, many, little and few with a noun, we use so to make it stronger.

There are so many people here!
I've had so little time to myself this week.

Saying the result

We often use these so and such structures with that and a clause to say what the result is.

It was so cold that the water in the lake froze.
He was such a good teacher that we all passed the exam.
There's so much noise that I can't think!

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

'so' and 'such': Grammar test 2

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Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)

Submitted by vanviet1603 on Sun, 21/08/2022 - 03:46

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It is such a great lesson. To be honest, I have not known the way to use those words.

Submitted by bahar-1 on Thu, 18/08/2022 - 07:02

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why is My cats have got so gorgeous eyes wrong? Can't we say very/so gorgeous?

Hi bahar-1,

It's because "gorgeous" is part of a noun phrase: "gorgeous eyes". We need "such" because of the noun "eyes". 

But "so" can be correct if we rewrite the sentence --> "My cats' eyes are so gorgeous". Here, "gorgeous" is by itself, not part of a noun phrase, so "so" is the right word to use.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

I assume 'gorgeous' is an adjective, logically, we shall used 'so' to emphasis the meaning.
However, 'gorgeous' come after 'eyes'.
'gorgeous' is an adjective to describe the 'eyes', so we should treated 'gorgeous eye' as a noun.
So, 'such' is the correct answer is this case.

Submitted by jacksondjackson on Sat, 13/08/2022 - 20:04

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Hi,
I'm doing some exercises about key word transformation and I got one aswer correct and one incorrect on the same matter. Could you please explain why?

He was the kindest person I had ever seen. (SUCH)
I had never seen such a kind person before. (Got it correct)

This is the strangest music I have ever heard. (STRANGE)
I have never heard such strange music before. (Got it wrong because I answered "...such a strange...")

Hi  jacksondjackson,

The reason one is correct and the other not is related to the nouns in the sentences: person and music.

Person is a countable noun, so 'a' is needed. Music is uncountable so no 'a' is used. You would need to say 'such a strange piece of music'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by didier-24 on Sun, 05/06/2022 - 12:12

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He was so angry that he cancelled the meeting.
I can finish so much more quickly my report if you leave me alone.
It was so cold that i could not go out of my house.
the grammar lesson was so interesting.

Submitted by Khine Zin Nyein on Tue, 02/11/2021 - 10:39

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Hi,

i got wrong in number 7.I thought so but the answer is such.Can anyone explain me please?

Hi Khine Zin Nyein,

It's because there is the noun 'students' in the phrase: "such hard-working students".

Use 'so' if there is just an adjective in the phrase, e.g. "I've never had students who are so hard-working".

Does that make sense?

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Hassan on Thu, 28/10/2021 - 22:56

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Hello Teachers
in this sentence "such an amazing food from such a small restaurant "
What do the first such and the second such mean? and is it correct with the article "an" in it?

Hi Ahmed Hassan,

Both times, 'such' is for emphasis. The speaker wants to emphasise how good the good was, and how small the restaurant was.

'Food' is usually used as an uncountable noun, so people would usually say 'such amazing food' (without 'an') - unless they are talking about one specific food.

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Samin on Thu, 26/08/2021 - 08:11

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Hello team Need to clarify this what is the correct way to ask the question Has he a car? Or Does he have a car?

Hi Samin,

Good question! Both are grammatically correct. Nowadays, the second one is much more commonly used, and I'd recommend using that form. The first one sounds more formal and less modern, and is less commonly used.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Thu, 01/07/2021 - 23:24

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Hello, thank you for the lesson; it was really helpful. However, I have a question about this topic: "It was so kind of him to help me that I bought him some flowers to say thank you" I thought that "kind" in that context was a noun for that reason I used the word "such" before "kind", but when I saw the answer in my book, the correct one was "so" (It is taking "kind" as an adjective and I don't understand why) Could you explain me why it is taking "kind" as an adjective please? And also I have a question from another topic. Here you are: Is it correct to say: "I don't really like these shoes. I'd rather they had a different or color"? If this sentence is not correct. Could you please replace the word "had" for other one which is correct?

Hi GiulianaAndy,

Kind is an adjective, meaning 'generous' or 'nice'. The noun for this meaning is kindness (= generosity). Kind is a noun too, but it doesn't mean the same thing - kind (noun) means 'type' or 'sort', not 'kindness' - so that meaning doesn't work in this sentence.

In the structure It/That was ____ of (somebody), an adjective can fill the gap, for example:

  • It was (so) kind of him. (kind = adjective)
  • That was (so) nice of you. (nice = adjective)

You can use a noun with 'such' too, but that needs the adjective kind describing a noun, e.g.

  • It was such a kind thing to do that I bought him ... (kind = adjective)

Or the noun kindness:

  • It was such kindness that I bought him ... (kindness = noun)

The first way (using the adjective) is the more common way to say this meaning.

 

About your second question, the phrase is something is (not 'has') a colourWe need to use a form of the verb be. So, it should be --> I'd rather they were a different colour

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 25/06/2021 - 13:31

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You're such an angel! :)

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Fri, 25/06/2021 - 00:05

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Hello, great lesson. However, I have a question about the question 5 in the grammar test 2. It says: "It was so kind of him.........". I thought that kind is being a noun and because of that I chose "such" and not "so", but when I so the answer it was "so". Could you explain me what should I use "so" and not "such", please? Thank you very much.

Hello GiulianaAndy,

The word kind is an adjective, so if it is by itself we use so:

It was so kind of him...

If there is a noun with the adjective then we use such:

He was such a kind man.

The noun from kind would be kindness:

He showed such kindness.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Mon, 01/02/2021 - 14:21

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He's such a nice guy. ( ˘ ³˘)♥ ゚+。:.゚ He's so unique. ( ^-^)ノ∠※。.:*:・’°☆

Submitted by Harry on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 08:19

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If I am correct,your above examples was only described with affirmative sentences.Is it possible to use in negative form to make sentence stronger such as "I am not so much cleverer than him". THANK YOU!

Hello Harry,

Yes, it is possible to say that. A comparative form (so much cleverer) would be used as a response to a perceived exaggeration:

Your hotel is many times more expensive than the other one!

No, it's not so much more expensive. Perhap a little, but not so much.

 

With a normal (non-comparative) adjective it

He isn't so clever. He's just very confident when he speaks.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mason2afm on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 21:01

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Hello. Wich one is correct response to " I'm hungry", so am i or so do i?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 26/10/2020 - 07:03

In reply to by Mason2afm

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Hello Mason2afm,

The correct form here is 'So am I'.

When the verb in the first sentence is 'be' (am, are, were etc) then it is repeated in the answer. If a different verb were used then we might use 'do', depending on the form of the verb.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tamdk151.93 on Thu, 22/10/2020 - 13:46

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I'm SO interested because of SUCH a fascinating lesson

Submitted by emmanuelniyomugabo12 on Wed, 23/09/2020 - 22:15

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Thanks Sir

Submitted by Pola on Wed, 09/09/2020 - 16:30

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I'm wondering if I want to say (such little different)
Hello! I was wondering the same thing but then I thought maybe it would be correct to use such with differnce(as a noun)instead of different (adjective)

Hello Memmedeva Nezrin,

It's difficult to say whether a phrase is correct or not when it isn't complete. For example, 'such different' by itself is not correct (instead, use 'such a difference').

But if a noun follows 'different' -- for example, 'They have such different ideas about friendship' -- then it is correct.

If 'different' doesn't precede a noun, then 'so' is correct: 'Their ideas about friendship are so different'.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kyawkyawsoezhu on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 17:57

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It's so nice to see such curious students in the comment section.
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Submitted by Salum Hilali on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 19:13

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It is such an interesting lesson I have learned so far . It is such a wonderful day !,I have achieved a 50 words per minutes typing speed.

Submitted by Fernando Belmonte on Sat, 01/08/2020 - 19:16

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I was so focused on the topic that I could undestand it without problems, due to the examples they mentioned,now, they have clarified my doubt.

Submitted by shiyashamsu on Sun, 26/07/2020 - 17:27

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These lessons are so interesting to learn

Submitted by Dastenova Firuza on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 10:40

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so is used with adjectives and such comes with adj+ noun combinations ti intensify the meaning of a sentence.

Submitted by martin olivares on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 04:10

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I think this words are so functional! because always allow us intensify something
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 13:25

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I'm wondering if we could use "such" for plural things? They're such beautiful views. Is it correct?

Hello Rafaela1

Yes, you that is correct. These are such interesting times.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Karan Narang on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 04:49

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I have had give my test but when I clicked for correct answer then shown me every answer was wrong but it wasn't wrong all answer few of my answer was correct even so there was shown every answers wrong. I think some have problem in that test.

Hello Karan Narang,

That sounds quite odd. Perhaps you could tell us some of your answers and we'll check to see if there is a problem with them. Remember that it's important to have each answer correct in terms of punctuation (no extra spaces, for example), spelling and capitalisation.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Karan Narang The same problem happened with me but when I retry I realised that I was writing the words with capital letters and that's the problem, probably this is why all your answers were wrong.

Submitted by Emily Mellor on Fri, 05/06/2020 - 11:54

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I learned a lot about this topic. It's such a clear explanation that I understand how to use these two words. Thanks

Submitted by Lal on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 08:23

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Hello Sir Is this sentence correct? Don't take such a long time. Please let me know Thank you. Regards Lal