It is easy to get confused about the usage of ‘so’ and ‘such’, as their structures are quite similar. However, they are not one and the same in terms of meaning or usage. For example, the sentence 'He is so good friend' is glaringly wrong, as is 'The sky is such beautiful today'. The difference can be illustrated using a simple formula:

  1. ‘So’ is followed necessarily by an adjective. In technical terms, it takes the adjective phrase.
    • Formula: ‘so’ + adjective + ‘that’.
    • For example: The movie was so scary that I couldn’t watch it till the end.
    • ‘that’ is optional. Therefore, the above sentence would work just as well without ‘that’: The movie was so scary, I couldn’t watch it till the end.
  2. ‘Such’ is followed by an article, the adjective, and then the noun. In technical terms, it takes the noun phrase.
    • Formula: ‘such’ + article + adjective + noun + ‘that’
    • For example: We chose such a scary movie to go for that I couldn’t even watch it till the end.
    • Again, ‘that’ is optional. If ‘that’ in the above sentence were to be replaced with a comma, it would still work.
    • Note: the article after ‘such’ is used when the noun is countable; that is to say, when it is something that can be expressed in numbers. For example, ‘car’, ‘dog’ and ‘book’ are countable nouns, as there can be a number assigned to each, such as ‘5 cars’ or ‘2 dogs’. For uncountable nouns, such as ‘food’, ‘milk’ or ‘water’ or ‘air’, the article is dropped. For example,

      1. ‘I had such good food at home the other day.’
      2. ‘We were blessed with such good weather on the trip.’