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'So' or 'such'?

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

<iframe src="" width="640" height="1732" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading…</iframe>What's the difference between 'so' and 'such'? When should I use one and not the other?

We use both to 'increase' the feeling we have for something.


  • Hot - high temperature

  • Exciting - causing enthusiasm

  • Important - great value or significance

  • Ambitious - strong desire to succeed

  • Minuscule - very very small



Subject + verb 'be' + so + adjective

We use 'so' to increase an adjective when the adjective is on it's own.


Subject + verb 'be' + such + noun phrase

We use 'such' to increase an adjective when the adjective is in a noun phrase.

What's a noun phrase?

A noun phrase is a noun with other words which make the noun more specific.

  • Book - noun

  • The book - noun phrase

  • The interesting book - noun phrase (with an adjective)

  • The interesting book I was reading - noun phrase



It is so hot.

We use 'so' like we use 'very'. It comes before the adjective.

It is such a hot day.

To use 'such' in a similar way you need to make the phrase after 'such' a noun phrase.


The film was so exciting.

Subject + verb 'be' + so + adjective

It was such an exciting film.

Subject + verb 'be' + such + noun phrase (including the adjective)


This document is so important.
This is such an important document.

In these examples the subject has changed. It changed because in the 'such' example we need the 'noun' (document) in the 'noun phrase' (an important document).


He is so ambitious.
He is such an ambitious man.


That snowflake over there is so minuscule.
That over there is such a minuscule snowflake.

What's happened to the subjects here? We took the 'noun' (snowflake) and moved it into the 'noun phrase' so the 'such a' phrase can be used.

More complicated sentences

So: Going to that restaurant was so exciting.

Such: That was such an exciting restaurant to go to.

What happened?

The subject of the 'so' sentence is 'Going to that restaurant'. This is noun phrase. To make the 'such' sentence we need to move the 'noun phrase' to the back. Therefore, the subject becomes 'that' and the noun phrase is moved. 'Going' is changed to 'go' because we need the 'to', and you can't say 'to going'.

So: I can't see the crack because it is so minuscule.

Such: I can't see it (the crack) because it's such a minuscule crack.

What happened? The noun (crack) is needed in the noun phrase. In the 'such' sentence that is at the end. However, we need it (the crack) in the first clause (I can't see...). Rather than say 'the crack' twice, we can replace the first 'the crack' with it. We can't replace the noun in the noun phrase with 'it'.

Such: I can't see the crack because it's such a minuscule it. (wrong)

Uncountable nouns

If the noun phrase includes an 'uncountable noun' then the sentence looks like this:

That is such useful information.

There is no 'a' between 'such' and 'useful'. Other examples:

  • That was such delicious pizza.

  • They have such beautiful furniture.


  • so + adjective

  • such + noun phrase (which includes the adjective)


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