Re: Grammar: "So" as a modifier?

Subject: Re: Grammar: "So" as a modifier?
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 12:43:21 -0400

Sankara R wrote:

either as an adverb ("are so X", where "so"
modifies the "are") or

beg to disagree. Look at these:
We were so worried. [I believe there is an
implied 'that we nearly called the cops']
He is so funny ['that it surprised me when he
quoted karl marx]
she is so sexy ['that your chances are thin']

Ain't so?

Sankara, you're missing a subtlety here.

In the dialog:

"You're fat."

"Am not!"

"Are so!"

I think it's true that so is an adverb modifying are. It can be replaced with truly. Restoring the elisions, we get, "You truly are fat," NOT, "You are truly [that is, very] fat."

This is different from the modern slang usage, "We are soooo lost," where so is an adverb modifying, in this case, the adjective lost. Recall that in schoolbook grammar an adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. When we get to the example cited earlier, "This is so an inconvenience," I think the adverb so modifies the adjective (article) an. Consider the exchange:

"This is an inconvenience."

"Yeah, this is so an inconvenience."

Yes, in normal adult English, we'd say, "This is inconvenient," and, "This is so inconvenient"; however, the more informal forms still work, even under the strictures of schoolmarm grammar.



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Re: Grammar: "So" as a modifier?: From: Sankara R

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