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Intensifiers: so, such, enough, too
Meaning and use
We use so, such, enough and too to indicate degree. So and such give emphasis and mean ‘very’. Too means more than necessary, and enough indicates the right amount of something.
It’s so cold today!
That’s such a pretty dress!
£150! That’s much too expensive for a pair of shoes.
We’ll have to buy a bigger car. This one’s not big enough for all of us.
We can also use so and too with much and many to talk about the amount of something. So much/many means a lot of something. Too much/many means more than we want or need of something.
I’ve got so much work to do tonight.
There are just too many cars on the roads these days.
For degree, it’s so + adjective:
I love watching Mr Bean. He’s so funny!
or so + adverb:
He plays the piano so well!
For amount, it’s so + much/many + noun to say we have a lot of something. Use so much with uncountable nouns and so many with countable nouns.
What a great party! We had so much fun! (fun = uncountable)
We visited so many places. (place = countable)
You can also use so much after a verb.
I like his music so much.
Take note: so + noun or verb
In modern spoken English, so is increasingly being used before nouns and verbs.
That dress is so last year! (= That dress is last year’s fashion.)
I’m so going to shout at him when I see him! (so = really)
We use such before an adjective and noun. If the noun is countable and singular, you need to put ‘a’ or ‘an’ after such.
That’s such a cute dog! (dog = countable noun)
We had such nice weather on holiday! (weather = uncountable noun)
Make sure you put a/ an after such, not before.
That’s a such pretty dress. => That’s such a pretty dress!
Take note: so/such + that for cause and effect
So and such can be used with a that clause to express cause and effect, or reason and result.
She felt so upset that she started to cry.
They had such an awful time that they said they’d never go again.
That introduces the result. But in informal English, we sometimes leave it out.
It was such a bad film he left before the end.
There were so many restaurants they didn’t know which one to choose.
To indicate degree, it’s too + adjective:
This restaurant’s too crowded. Let’s go somewhere else.
Or too + adverb:
You’re walking too fast! Slow down!
To talk about an amount or number of something which is more than what we want or need, it’s too much or too many + noun. Use too much before uncountable nouns and too many before countable nouns.
Ugh! You’ve put too much sugar in my tea! (sugar = uncountable)
I ate too many biscuits. (biscuit = countable)
You can also use too much on its own after a verb.
Sarah drinks too much.
Take note: too with negative
If we say a sentence with too in the negative form, then we mean it isn’t a problem. The form is not + too + adjective.
It’s not too late to buy tickets for the final. There are still some on sale.
We use enough to express that something is or isn’t the right degree or amount. We put it after an adjective or verb.
It’s adjective + enough in positive sentences and questions or not + adjective + enough in negative sentences.
Is it warm enough for you in here?
He doesn’t sleep enough. That’s why he’s always tired.
We put enough before a noun.
It’s enough + noun in positive sentences and questions or not + enough + noun in negative sentences.
Do we have enough money to go abroad this year?
There aren’t enough knives and forks for all the guests.
Sentences with enough are sometimes followed by to + verb infinitive.
She’s definitely smart enough to become director.
There aren’t enough players to make a team.