Grammar: "So" as a modifier?

Subject: Grammar: "So" as a modifier?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 10:09:33 -0400

Arroxane wonders: <<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.>>

The usage you're giving as an example is very "new-fashioned" and considered informal because of its current association with youth-speak ("you are so hosed"). That's probably why you consider it to sound "wrong"; good writers have a powerful "it looks funny" filter for words in specific genres, such as formal writing.

If you never see it in typical technical documentation--which you don't--it's wrong because it's not part of the standard vocabulary readers have grown comfortable reading. But if you were writing docs for 733T ("leet", the jargon such as "C U L8R" used by teens for instant messaging), it might be perfectly appropriate in your docs--provided you know how to talk the talk so that you don't sound like an old fogey (me, for instance) trying to sound "hip". (You know you're an old fogey if you use the word "hip". <g>

<<If a grammatical rule for this situation exists, I have forgotten it.>>

One rule is probably more important than grammaer: know the language of your audience. But the grammatical rule is that the "so" is serving either as an adverb ("are so X", where "so" modifies the "are") or adjective (so-called, where "so" modifies "called"), and so long as it fits in the correct place for one of those word forms, it's a correct use.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Try WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word today! Smooth migration of legacy
RoboHelp content into your new Help systems. EContent Magazine Decision-
maker review (October 2005) is here:

Doc-To-Help 2005 converts RoboHelp files with one click. Author with Word or any HTML editor. Visit our site to see a conversion demo movie and learn more.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Grammar: "So" as a modifier: From: arroxaneullman

Previous by Author: Structured authoring - more than just XML/SGML?
Next by Author: Grammar: "So" as a modifier? (take II)
Previous by Thread: Re: Grammar: "So" as a modifier
Next by Thread: Re: Grammar: "So" as a modifier?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads