Grammar-QuizzesConnectorsSubordinators › So…that / Such…that

So…that / Such…that

Intensify a quality before stating an effect

Meteor Shower


So–that vs. Such–that


So is paired with that + a clause to express emphasis. So, a degree adverb, modifies or intensifies an adjective or adverb in the main clause. This expression is followed by a subordinated clause (that + clause) which expresses a surprising or remarkable effect.  (Note that may be omitted, and very cannot be used in place of so.)


The meteor storm was so beautiful 

that we watched it all night.

The meteor storm passed so quickly

that it went by in one week.





Such is part of an adjective phrase [such + (determiner) + adjective] which modifies a noun phrase. This expression is followed by a subordinated clause (that + clause) which expresses a surprising or remarkable effect. (Such is one of the few adjectives that occurs before the article of the noun.¹)                                                                                           


It was [such a beautiful] meteor storm

that we watched it all night.

It was such a quick meteor storm

that it passed by in one week.

It was such an amazing sight


that we'll never forget it.



Predeterminer adjective — such [a sight], such [a display], such [a disaster] (Huddleston 551);   

¹Predeterminer in a noun phrase — You are such a snob.  (Arts 152)

Also see So many + infinitive v. that (There are so many to choose from. There are so man that we can choose.)






So…that / So [that]

Emphasis vs. Effect/Result




So – Emphasis vs. Effect


In the examples below, so modifies or intensifies an adjective or adverb in the cause-clause. And that follows in the effect-clause with a remarkable or extraordinary comment.  


The meteor storm was so beautiful

that we watched it all night. (remarkable)


that we couldn't believe our eyes.


that we called everyone out to see it.


that we shouted "ooow" and "awww".


that we wished it would never end.


*that we watched it. (not remarkable)


In the examples below, so is also a connective adverb complemented by a clause that expresses the logical effect or result (to the action in the main clause.)                                


We heard about the Perseid meteors,

so we watched the sky for them.

We became hungry,

so we went inside.

I saw a falling star,

so I made a wish.








*Yellow highlighting marks an example of incorrect usage.

Also see Modifying an Adjective – so  (degree adverbs)  and Because and FANBOYS – so  (conjunctions) and pop question Pop-Q Resultive "so".

(Aarts 64, 156)







So much / Such

Quantity vs. Quality




So Much vs. Such


Use so much or so many to place emphasis on the quantity of the object-noun in the cause-clause.


We will learn so much interesting information that it will take years to process it.
                (so much – adjective + noncount noun)

We will see so many beautiful stars that it will be hard to count them.
                (so many – adjective + count noun)


Use such to place emphasis on the quality of the modifier to the object-noun in the cause-clause.


We will learn such interesting information that we will want to read more.
                (such – adjective + noncount noun)

We'll see such beautiful stars that we'll be amazed.
                (such – adjective + count noun)

*We'll see so beautiful stars that we'll be amazed.  (incorrect)


Also see  Using Much & Many |  Count and Non-count Nouns 

Solution - lightbulbPop-Q "Such that" 







Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions



Error and Solution


*The night was so cold that we were cold.    The result is unremarkable. It doesn't need emphasis.

*The night was very cold that we were shivering.   shiver (V) –to shake slightly because of the cold

*It was so cold night that we wore extra coats.


The night was so cold that we had to wear two coats / we had to turn the heat on in the car / we had to put a camping blanket around us. 

When emphasizing a cause-effect relationship, the effect should be something unusual or remarkable. 

The night was so cold that we wore two coats.
When stating a cause-effect relationship, very is not used. Very is used to intensify the quality of an adjective, adverb.  See Adv for Degree.

It was such a cold night that we put a camping blanket around us.
Use such before a singular count noun (a night).  






► Show Grammar Notes? ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional Grammar and Linguistic Description




So is a degree adverb without an -ly suffix.  (Huddleston 584)

"Conditions under which that must or may appear"  (Huddleston 952)

Such is one of the few adjectives that occurs before the determiner.  (Huddleston 435, 967)
I've never seen such disorganization. (adjective + noncount noun)
It was such a sight! (adj + a + count noun) predeterminer adjective
What a sight!  (adj + a + noun)
Also: How smart a boy is he?  As smart a boy as he is, he still needs to study. Too large a pizza won't fit the oven. So great a man you will never find again.


So diagram

Such diagram


So diagram


It was such a beautiful meteor shower that we watched it all night.



Clause; Subject / Predicate; Finite / Nonfinite; NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Compcomplement; Det – determiner; Adj –  adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; Sub – Subordinator



  • Aarts, Bas. Oxford Modern English Grammar. Oxford UP, 2011.
  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.






Watching the Perseid Meteor Showers

meteor shower


Read the Context

Last night was a bit cloudy. We couldn't see much.  However, then the sky suddenly brightened up when the Perseids began to pass by. This particular meteor shower is a rare occurrence. It only comes every 33 years. The comet has a large wake. It passes through the earth's upper atmosphere. It is an awesome sight. 

The shooting stars appear frequently. You can see two or three a minute. The meteor particles are small. They burn up before they reach the earth.

In fact, the meteor particles move very fast. They become bullets in space. For this reason, a meteor storm is a big threat to satellites. They have to be moved or turned away from the storm.

Scientists consider this a unique opportunity. They fly in aircraft to study the meteor showers. These observations will reveal important information. Scientists will be studying results for years.

aircraft (N) — any man-made machine that can fly; singular and plural form is aircraft

atmosphere (N) — the mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth.

bullets (N) — extremely high speed objects (as in ammunition in a gun)

meteor (N) — a piece of rock or metal that travels through space, and makes a bright line in the night sky when it falls down towards Earth  

meteor storm / shower (N)  — a period when a large number of meteors fall toward earth

observation (N) — the process of watching something or someone carefully for a period of time

occurrence (N) — happening; event

particles (N) — small pieces or bits

reveal  (V) — to make known something that was a secret or unknown; uncover, discover

satellite (N) — a machine sent into space and goes around the Earth, moon or some other planet

shooting stars or falling stars (N) — pieces of rock or metal

threat (N) — something that can cause harm or damage

unique (Adj) — being the only one of its kind; special

wake (N) — the particles that are spread out behind the comet from space and that burn brightly as they fall toward Earth

Adapted from: NASA Chat. "Up All Night to Watch the Perseids." 12 Aug 2011 NASA. Web. 15 Aug 2011





Change the sentence from the story to a so that or such that sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-10" button.