Being a writer and author for nearly 15 years now, I can definitely say that English grammar works in such mysterious ways! So, we need to be careful when learning it. “So” and “such” are two words that don’t substitute one another, and that might be confusing for non-native speakers.
Today I’ll talk about how to use so and such to form sentences and what the differences are between so and such. Then you can take one of my grammar lessons at the end to test what you’ve learned.
What’s the Difference Between So and Such?
“So” and “such” are often used to express a high level of something. We might say a building is “so tall” or that we’ve seen “such beautiful places.” When we have an adverb or an adjective, we typically use “so.” On the other hand, “such” precedes adjectives and nouns.
To put it briefly: so is the adverb, while such is the determiner. Sometimes, they have the same meaning. For example:
- My time in Venice was so good!
- I had such a good time in Venice!
Such is combined with a noun phrase, while so is combined with an adverb phrase or an adjective:
- She is such a great writer.
- I had to accept the offer; it was so tempting.
- It’s so cold outside we had to turn the heat on.
- The new place had such delicious food.
There are a few rules that you want to remember to better understand when to use each of these words.
- So can be used with few, little, many, or much.
- Always use such before a noun, even if it has an adjective between them.
- If there is an indefinite article before the noun, always use such.
- So is used before an adjective if there isn’t a noun after the adjective.
- So is used before adverbs.
Differences Between So That and Such As in a Sentence
“So that” is a structure we use to express an aim. It can be replaced with “in order to.”
- I hurried back home with the groceries so that my mom could start cooking dinner.
- Sarah quit her job as a bank teller so that she could study medicine.
“Such as” is used when we want to give one or multiple examples of something. To determine whether you are using “such as” correctly, see if you can replace it with “like” or “for example.”
- Salty snacks, such as peanuts or chips, are my favorite.
- The Balkans is a European region that consists of countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania.
What Is Formal of So?
There are several other words that you can use instead of “so” without changing the meaning of the sentence. Here are some examples of formal ways to say “so”:
- Our systems have identified that you have a negative credit score. Therefore, the bank decided to reject your loan request.
- Failing to isolate your home results in lower interior temperatures. As a consequence/Consequently, you will end up paying more for heating.
- People leave their appliances plugged in even when they are not in use. As a result, money is wasted on electricity bills.
- You didn’t provide the correct phone number. Thus, our couriers were unable to contact you to deliver your parcel.
How Do You List Things After Such As?
Such as is used when you want to introduce examples. For lists of examples, you need to place a comma before such as. If you only introduce one example, you don’t need a comma.
- People such as yourself make this country proud.
- Exotic fruits, such as maracuja or mango, are my favorite.
Can I Start a Sentence With So?
You may have heard that starting a sentence with “so” is incorrect. However, there is no rule outlawing the use of this word at the beginning of a sentence. In fact, “so” can be a valid way to start a sentence.
The word “so” is typically used to introduce a result or consequence. For example, “I was studying for my test, so I got a good grade.” In this sentence, “so” introduces the result of studying for the test.
When you use the conjunction so, the statement that follows it needs to connect to the sentence that came before it.
If you are unsure whether it is good grammar to start a statement with so, try substituting the word “therefore” for it and determining whether or not the sentence still makes sense.
- I burned the steak and knew my wife would be hungry once she got home. So, I picked up the phone and decided to order Chinese.
In other cases, “so” can be used to express an emotion or opinion. For example, “I’m so tired.” In this sentence, “so” conveys the speaker’s feeling of fatigue.
As you can see, there are many situations where starting a sentence with “so” is perfectly acceptable. So if you start a sentence with this word, don’t worry – you’re not breaking any rules.
So and Such in Conversation
Using the words “so” and “such” correctly in conversation can be tricky, but it’s crucial to get it right.
“So” is typically used to introduce a new topic or to emphasize something, while “such” is used to emphasize how big, small, or intense something is.
For example, you might say “I’m so tired” to emphasize how exhausted you are, or “The party was such a disaster” to emphasize how badly it went.
It’s also worth noting that “so” can be used as an interjection, meaning it can stand alone as a brief exclamation. For example, you might say “So there!” after making an assertive statement.
Examples of How to Use So in a Sentence
- I bought everything on the way home, so you don’t have to go to the supermarket anymore.
- I stayed up all night to complete this project. So, there you have it!
- You are so beautiful! I’m speechless.
- My brother is so lazy that he pays me to do the dishes for him.
- Why is my little sister so annoying?!
- The world has so many beautiful countries. I want to see as many of them as possible.
- Is Thomas going to help you whenever you need it? I don’t think so!
Examples of How to Use Such in a Sentence
- I have never heard such a thing before.
- Some dog breeds, such as Shar Peis, are more difficult to care for.
- Such is the fate of he who falls in love.
- I like Matt. He is such a nice person.
- My trip to New York is amazing. I’ve seen such tall buildings!
The rules of using so and such are simple. Such is combined with a noun phrase, while so is combined with an adverb phrase or an adjective. So can be used with few, little, many, or much.
Always use such before a noun, even if it has an adjective between them. If there is an indefinite article before the noun, always use such. So is used before an adjective if there isn’t a noun after the adjective and also used before adverbs.