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So…that / Such…that

Intensify a quality before stating an effect

Meteor Shower
 

 

So–that vs. Such–that

SO [ADVERB / ADJECTIVE]  THAT

So is placed before a modifier, an adjective or an adverb, to intensify its quality or manner. This emphasis on the modifier expresses a remarkable situation. This clause can stand alone as a sentence, or it can be paired with that + clause to express a cause and effect relationship.   (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 placed before a modifier and noun to intensify the quality of the modifier.  The emphasis within the noun phrase expresses a remarkable situation.  This clause can stand alone as a sentence or it can be paired with that + clause to express a cause and effect relationship. (Such is one of few modifiers placed 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.

 

An adjective is not required in a noun phrase with such. The quality being emphasized may be understood from contextual information. Such stress was placed on the foundation that the building began to sink. They built it in such a way that it was likely to sink. See Such "Uses" below.

Predeterminer modifier (a modifier placed before the article of the noun) — 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 Determiners (Such luck is rare), Predeterminer Modifiers (such, what), So many + infinitive v. that (There are so many to choose from. There are so many 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 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

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" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Such" Uses

Express a variety of concepts

 

 

Such

SUCH IN A SENTENCE

SUCH

of the kind

Such things are hard to understand.

[modifier] "the kind already mentioned"

SUCH

so much

It was such a cold day. (NOT a such cold day)

[predeterminer modifier] emphasizes a description

SUCH

so much → result

It was such a cold day that we stayed inside.

[predeterminer modifier] cause-effect

SUCH

of the kind→ result

The damage from the storm was such that it took weeks to recover.

[pronoun]  cause-effect

SUCH AS

for example

Bring warm clothes such as wool sweaters, hats, and boots. 

[pronoun + prepositional phrase]   "of the kind as..."

SUCH A WAY

in the manner

The wind blew in such a way that it destroyed trees.

[modifier] in this manner

SUCH AS IT IS

this as it is

The economy such as it is requires a boost of some kind.

[pronoun] "in its present state"  (not so good)

SUCH (NOUN)

of a particular group

Such people say one thing but do another.

[determiner] generalizing expression; "of this kind" 

SUCH IN A SENTENCE

AS SUCH

like this

We will not accept the contract as such. Revise it.

[pronoun] "as it exists now"

SUCH-AND-SUCH

this and that

He is always talking about such-and-such a diet.

[pronoun] "one or another" (indefinite); informal use

SUCH IS THE CASE

this/that

You need to show your ID. Such is the case.

[pronoun] "as mentioned" (relies on contextual information)

SUCH THAT

to the degree

His pride was such that he wouldn't hire a translator.

[pronoun] "to the extent that"

NO SUCH LUCK

disappointment

We thought we would win. But no such luck.

[modifier] "things happened differently than hoped"

NO SUCH THING

doesn't exist

We were looking for a computer technician who could manage a team. But no such animal.

[modifier] "the combination didn't exist"

AND SUCH

and the like

We discussed politics, the economy, culture, and such.

[pronoun] "other things like those just mentioned"

SUCH A __!

remarkable

Such an exciting day!  What a remarkable day!

[predeterminer modifier] [interjection]

 

Also see How and What Expressions.  (What a disaster! Such a disaster!)

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*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.
 

SOLUTION

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).  

 

 

 

 

 

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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

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

Practice

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

 

 

 

 

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