So vs Such – Difference and Comparison

What is So?

In the English language, the word “so” came from the Old English word “swa” – implying the extent of something. “So” does not have a single use; rather, it is used to render different meanings in changing contexts. It is also used to exhibit a sense of emphasis. Its grammatical category varies from sentence to sentence. Mostly it comes as an adverb and conjunction, and it’s better to understand it with an example.

For example, “He is a really hardworking student.” In the aforesaid sentence, “so” is being used to show the greater extent of hard work he does. Sometimes, it is used to mean “similarity of manner”, as in the expression, “She goes to the school,” “So does her sister.” The previous example shows the similarity between her and her sister in going to the same place, i.e., school.

As a conjunction, it has multiple contextual usages. For example, “so” means to link a sentence that comes after another sentence. Suppose the sentence, “So, I would go.” The aforesaid sentence may be coming after a sentence like “If the party is scheduled.” This shows that “so” links sentences with a single context here. It is also used to mean “in order to,” as in the example, “I am studying hard so that I can get good marks.”

What is Such?

The word “such” is derived from multiple roots, notably the Dutch root “zulk” – implying a specific type of something. To use “such” in this meaning, the object of which the kind is being told has to be mentioned previously. For example, “He is such an honest man.” In the aforementioned example, “such” tells the kind of person he is. And the subject is previously mentioned.

“Such” is also used to put stress or emphasize something. For example, “It was such a great meeting.” In this example, “such” is showing, laying emphasis on the quality of the meeting. Take another example, “It’s such pleasant weather.” You can interpret in both senses of “such”: emphasis and kind. It shows both the kind of weather and also emphasizes it.

“Such” is also used to mean “in itself”. For example, “Books as such do not help in oral exams.” The aforementioned sentence shows an intrinsic aspect of books in oral exams. “Such” is also used to indicate something that is previously mentioned. For example, “Such people are ungovernable.” In this example, the people being talked about are somewhere mentioned in the preceding sentence. In this way, “such” can either play the role of a determiner or a pronoun.

Difference Between So and Such

  1. The root of “so” is in Old English, whereas the root word of “such” is a Dutch word.
  2. “So” is used to show the extent, whereas “such” shows the kind of something.
  3. “So” can either be an adverb or conjunction, whereas “such” can be a determiner or pronoun.
  4. “So” is followed by an adjective or adverb, whereas “such” is followed by a noun or noun phrase.
  5. The frequency of use of “so” is higher – reported by Google, whereas the frequency of use of “such” is lower.

Comparison Between So and Such

Parameters of ComparisonSoSuch
RootOld EnglishDutch
FunctionTo show the extent of somethingTo show a/the kind of something
Grammatical CategoryAdverb/ConjunctionPronoun/Determiner
Used WithAdjective/AdverbNoun/Noun Phrase
Frequency of UseHigherLower