RE: Grammar: "So" as a modifier

Subject: RE: Grammar: "So" as a modifier
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 09:27:03 -0400

Off the top of my head, I'd say this was a matter of the degree of
formality. In informal usage, this would be perfectly fine, but not in
a technical manual.
-----Original Message-----
From: arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com [mailto:arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 5:10 PM
Subject: Grammar: "So" as a modifier

Hey all,

Another interesting grammatical conversation came up today. This time
we discussed "so" as a modifier. For example, "We are so lost" (instead
of "very?) or "That is so an inconvenience" (instead of "such"?). I
commented that this usage was incorrect, but really can't back it up
with a grammatical rule.

If a grammatical rule for this situation exists, I have forgotten it.
If it is acceptable, why does it sound so wrong? (Yes, I intentionally
used it in a common phrase.)

FYI, the explanation in my Merriam-Webster's
_Concise_Dictionary_of_English_Usage is rather roundabout and
long-winded. What I gleaned is that it's antiquated, yet it appears to
be recently revived in youth culture.

So, I'm just looking for a simple rule-of-thumb I can share with my
grammatically handicapped peers.

Thanks to the TW Grammarians!

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