So means ‘to that extent’ or ‘that much’. It is often used when we are talking about a high degree of something.
- I am so tired. (= I am very tired.)
- It was so cold that we didn’t go out.
So can be used before an adjective without a noun or an adverb.
- You are so silly.
- Why are you driving so fast?
- Don’t talk so loudly.
If there is a noun after the adjective, we do not use so. Instead we use such.
- She is so beautiful.
- She is such a beautiful girl. (NOT She is so a beautiful girl.)
Before comparatives we use so much.
- You are looking so much prettier. (NOT You are looking so prettier.)
So and very
So can be used in situations where very is also a suitable word. Very is preferred when we are simply giving information. So is used to refer to information which has already been given.
Structures with very are not normally followed by that-clauses. Instead we use ‘so…that’.
- It was so hot that we didn’t go out. (NOT It was very hot that we didn’t go out.)
- He spoke so fast that nobody could understand. (=He spoke very fast that nobody could understand.)