SO and SUCH often have the same meaning : ‘very’ or ‘to this degree’.

So is used before an adjective or an adverb (without a noun after it):

  • so big
  • so carefully

So is also used before ‘much / many / little / few’.

  • The children laughed so much.
  • They ate so many cakes.
  • We had so little time to the exercise.
  • He was surprised that so few people came.

Such is followed by ‘a’ or ‘an’, + an adjective + a singular noun :

  • such a long time
  • such an incredible story

Such is used without ”a’ or ‘an’ before plural nounsuncountable nouns (luggage, furniture), mass nouns (water, rice) and abstract nouns (advice, courage, generosity, kindness … )

  • such fools
  • such (beautiful) furniture
  • such (clear) water
  • such generosity

Compare the following sentences:

  • This book is so interesting.
  • This is such an interesting book.
  • Such interesting books are hard to find.
  • I was amazed that the crowd was so big.
  • I was amazed that there was such a big crowd.
  • Such big crowds can be frightening.
  • The story was so complicated.
  • It was such a complicated story.
  • Such complicated stories are difficult to follow.
  • You are so intelligent.
  • You are such an intelligent person.
  • A person of such intelligence is a pleasure to meet.

‘So … that’ and ‘such … that’ are used to describe reasons and results.

So + adjective + that :

◊ The hotel was so comfortable that we decided to stay another night.

Such + adjective + noun + that :
◊ It’s such comfortable hotel that we’ll definitely stay there again.