Category Archives: Writing

So big!

Say it isn’t So!

 

Say it isn't so, Wilbur comic strip This expression means, “tell me it is NOT true!” or “I hope that is not so.”

The female comic book character here must be thinking, “Say it isn’t so!,” when she learns that she has been leaning up against wet paint.

In this title, “Say it isn’t So,” so means “thus,” or “this way.”

Let’s look at a more common use of so, and the purpose of today’s blog:  the use of so as an intensive.  When paired with an adjective so magnifies, increases, or intensifies the sense of what it is describing (much like the word such). However….

There is SO much confusion between such and so…

1. Such

Let’s take a look at how to use such.

If you are describing a person, place, or thing, you will use such.  Use such with nouns and noun phrases.

For example:

Malta is not such a big country.  I don’t think that is such a good idea. That was such a great dinner.

Look at those sentences again. Notice that such is followed by “a”  in those examples. Of course if the noun doesn’t take an article then such is used without it (see A, An, or The?…THAT is the question! for article use and non-use). For example: They have such great service at that hotel.

   Tip:  don’t use such with kind.

This site explains that such is an intensifier, but “kind” cannot be intensified so it doesn’t work * http://linguapress.com/grammar/points/such.htm *.  In other words, the phrase “such kind” is NOT grammatically correct. It isn’t kind (to your teacher) to use such with kind!

To say “this type” simply use such in front of the noun.  Yenta the matchmaker from my favorite musical Fiddler on the Roof, uses such in this manner:

“From such children come other children.”

Additionally, when such is substituted for this or these, “such” carries an enhanced negative meaning.  So, “this type of clothing”  is neutral, but “such type of clothing” makes it sound disdainful. If I really disliked a certain fashion, I might say, “I would NEVER wear such type of clothing.”

Okay. That seems simple enough: we use such with nouns as an intensive, or 2. to mean this type (like Yenta).

2. So

So, let’s look at the use of so using similar sentences to the ones we just used:

Malta is not so big. I don’t think that idea is so good. That dinner was sooooo delicious!

So is used to describe adjectives.  Think of so like an adjective booster.*

Young children in the US also learn that the answer to, “How big are you?”  Is “SO BIG” accompanied by a gesture of stretching their arms as far apart as possible!

So big!
Q:  How big are you?   Child:   So big!

In the comic strip above, the young man seems like such a nice man. Although the woman asks him if he has come to alibi (which means give an excuse for why he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.  I imagine he must have stood her up* recently).  He doesn’t seem so nice in the last picture however, where he sneers that the bench was just painted.  I think she was angry in the first frame*, but she must be sooooo angry in the last panel.*

So-and-so

So-and-so is a term for an unnamed person.  It can be used 1. to protect someone’s identity, 2. if you have forgotten their name or  it doesn’t matter who they are,  and 3. when what you are saying could apply to anyone. For example: 1. So-and-so made a complaint ., 2. We were talking to so-and-so when the dog got loose. , 3. Art buyers can identify the work of so-and-so through a variety of tells*, including: the colors used, the angle of the brush strokes, and the composition of his/her subject matter.

Such-and-such

Much like so-and-so, such-and-such is a term for things, non-specified activity, or stuff. Here is an example of how to use it in a sentence, “If so-and-so were born in such-and-such year, you can calculate his/her age by subtracting their birth year from this year.”  Here is one more, “At camp we spent the day doing such-and-such, but at night we all sang songs and told stories around a campfire.”

My Take On It

There is a suggested lack of a person’s or thing’s importance in the terms “so-and-so” and “such-and-such.” It is as if it is too much trouble to remember or say their name.

There is a story in the Bible of Jesus talking to a crowd of people.  He tells them,

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” 

(Matthew 10:30, and Luke 12:7).  Can you imagine caring for someone so carefully that you would always know the exact number of hairs on their head?! Well, Jesus said that God loves us that much! He would never call us “So-and-so” in fact you have probably heard the most famous verse in Bible (John 3:16)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

What an incredible way to think about such and so!  God loved us SO much that He gave up His one and only son for our sake.  That is SUCH an amazing thought.

~ Michele

Be My Guest!

I have a new page on my blog titled, Be My Guest!

Be My Guest
Be My Guest

The title reminds me of a song from the Disney move, “Beauty and the Beast.” I can hear Mrs. Potts (an animated tea pot) and Lumière (the candlestick) singing, “Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test!…”

This page was created for guest writers who want to contribute to My Virtual English blog. (Don’t worry if you don’t have perfect English, I will edit it before publishing it).

Today’s contribution is from my sister, Melinda DeCouto (known to her students as “Mrs. DeCouto).  She talks about an expression used by pilots…

Holding Short

This afternoon I learned something about air traffic courtesy and communications.  I picked up my youngest son, Michael, from Turlock High School at 12:25.  He had a big smile on his handsome face and his long strides sped up a bit as he came towards the car.  Tall and handsome, I figure he takes after his mother (me!).  He got in the car and after greeting me said he wanted to go to the airport to practice some take offs and landings.  He asked if I would go and watch him for a while and wait until his flight instructor, Bill, came at 1:45.  “Sure,” I said.  “I would love that, and I’m not going anywhere.  I’m on vacation!”

“You’re on vacation!”  Michael repeated, happy to know I was feeling great and was enjoying myself.  Michael often tells me: “Mom, you need to take care of yourself.,”  “Mom, you work so hard.,”  “Mom, I love you.”  He really is a valentine from the Lord,  born Valentine’s Day 1997.  He is happy when I am happy.  As we drove into the driveway, he said “Just wait in the car.”

To continue reading, click this link….

   My Take On It

I love this engaging story and the insight that Melinda has about “holding short” for God’s Spirit.  She also used some good vocabulary which is explained at the end of her story.

If you’ve ever thought about writing, or if you have something you have written that others would enjoy, please share it.  Be my guest!

Michele