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So…that / Such…that

Emphasize qualities and resulting effect

Meteor Shower
 

 

So–that vs. Such–that

SO [ADVERB / ADJECTIVE]  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.)

CAUSE EFFECT

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 ADJECTIVE  NOUN  THAT

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)                                        

CAUSE EFFECT

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

INTENSIFIER

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.  

EVENT WITH EMPHASIS REMARKABLE EFFECT

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)
 

PREPOSITION

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.)                                

CAUSE (NO EMPHASIS) EFFECT/RESULT

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 Cause & Effect and FANBOYS – so  (conjunctions)

(Aarts 64, 156)

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much / Such

Quantity vs. Quality

 

 

 

So Much vs. Such

SO MUCH / MANY

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

EMPHASIS ON QUANTITY

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)

 
SUCH

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

EMPHASIS ON QUALITY

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

ERROR SOLUTION

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

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

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 so cold night that we wore extra coats.
 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional Grammar and Linguistic Description

 

 

SO SUCH

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.

SUBJECT – PREDICATE SUBJECT – PREDICATE

So diagram

Such diagram

DETAIL – SO BEAUTIFUL THAT DETAIL – SUCH A BEAUTIFUL…THAT

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

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Watching the Perseids 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

 

 

 

 

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