Helping Learners Understand Spoken English

Should I Use ‘So’ or ‘Such’?

So and such can be confusing for English language learners, but the rules are actually quite simple.

So (adverb) and such (determiner) are used to add emphasis to what you are saying. They have the same meaning as very, but the grammar is different and mistakes are common. Keep reading to learn how to avoid common mistakes.

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Avoid Mistakes Using SO and SUCH

We use so before adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives and adverbs give more information about other words.

Example: My students are so smart.

100 Common Adjectives in English

We use such before nouns. The difficulty comes when there is an adjective before the noun. We use such (not so!) before adjectives when they come before a noun.

Example: You are such a smart student.

100 Common Nouns in English

I see and hear so many mistakes with so and such. Let’s look at some examples of correct usage.

Use so before adjectives

  • The baby is so happy.
  • It is so hot out.
  • The sunset is so beautiful this evening.
  • It’s so windy today.
  • Dinner was so delicious.
  • It was so enjoyable!

In each of the sentences above, you can substitute the word very in place of so.

Use such before (adjective +) noun

  • She is such a happy baby.
  • It is such a hot day.
  • That is such a beautiful sunset.
  • It is such a windy day.
  • That was such a delicious meal.
  • It was such an enjoyable time!

Such cannot be substituted with very without changing the grammar and words a little.

  • She is a very happy baby.
  • It is a very hot day.
  • That is a very beautiful sunset.
  • It is a very windy day.
  • That was a very delicious meal.
  • It was a very enjoyable time!

For a few more examples of so and such, read Common Errors In English by Espresso English.

For a more detailed explanation of so and such, check out ESL Buzz.

Quick Review of such and so

SUCH + noun phrase

🔹 He is such a good listener.
🔹 Life is such a challenge for many now.
🔹 It was such a rainy day today.

SO + adjective or adverb phrase

🔹 He is so good at listening.
🔹 Life is so challenging for many now.
🔹 It was so rainy today.

Such and so are just a couple of confusing words in English. There are many!

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Table of contents: List of Confusing Words in English

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