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Hi,

I intuitively know that there should be so (instead of such) in the following examples.

1) I don't have so much money.
2) I've never seen so many people in my life.

3) I have so little time.
4) I have so few friends.

My question is: is it grammatical to have such (instead of so) in these contexts (before determiners)? Despite the fact that the versions with such sound off, are they in use at all?

(???) 1) I don't have such much money.

(???) 2) I've never seen such many people in my life.

(???) 3) I have such little time.
(???) 4) I have such few friends.

A student of mine asked me why there should be so, as she had learned earlier that we use such when it modifies a noun phrase. I told her that there should be so before determiners (despite the following nouns), and she asked whether the 'such' versions are correct as well? I don't know the answer.

Also, are there more such determiners that require the use of so in similar contexts? Personally, I can't think of any, can you?

I'd be grateful for any help,
Michal
Comments  
MichalS(???) 1) I don't have such much money.
(???) 2) I've never seen such many people in my life.
(???) 3) I have such little time.
(???) 4) I have such few friends.Others will be better able to pin this down.
None of your four alternatives are acceptable.

It has to do with the nature of the quantity.

You can say "I have such little hands."
"I have such a small amount of time."
"I have never seen such fat people."

"Such" refers to the noun, as you say - not to the adjective.
"So" refers to the adjective.

I have never seen so little a crowd. Note the "a." Emotion: big smile Why doesn't "so" refer to the "following noun,"crowd? Emotion: thinking

I have never seen such a little crowd.

Edit. "I have such few friends" was starting to sound good to me, so I played the Google game:

"such few friends" 77,500 hits

"so few friends" 197,000,000 hits
From an on-line source:

Structures using 'such' and 'so' are similar in meaning, but different in construction. The main difference between the two structures is that 'such' takes a noun phrase, whereas 'so' takes an adjective.

'Such ... that'
'Such ... that' takes a noun or modified noun in a noun phrase. 'That' can be used following the noun phrase but is not required.
such + adjective + noun + (that)

Examples:
The recording was such a disappointment that I didn't buy any more from that artist.
It was such an expensive car that the didn't buy it.


'So ... that'
'So ... that' takes an adjective. 'That' can be used following the noun phrase but is not required.
So + adjective + (that)

Examples:
The game was so fascinating (that) he played for hours.
Our vacation apartment was so luxurious (that) we didn't want to leave.
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Thank you Avangi and MM for your time!
AvangiYou can say "I have such little hands."
"I have never seen such fat people."
OK, but here we have the sturcture: Such+Adjective+Noun but in my example "*I have such little time", 'little' is a determiner, I guess. Isn't it?
Mister MicawberStructures using 'such' and 'so' are similar in meaning, but different in construction. The main difference between the two structures is that 'such' takes a noun phrase, whereas 'so' takes an adjective.
Am I right at saying that 'little time' in "I have little time" is determiner+noun? If yes, isn't it a noun phrase as well as the adjective+noun combination? If yes, then shouldn't it go with 'such', according with the above rule.

That's why I'm a bit confused, as I don't quite know how to account for such structures.

If "I have so much money" is correct (and I believe it is) then what is 'much money' here if not a noun phrase modified by 'so'? While the rule says that only 'such' modifies noun phrases.

Sorry if I'm being unclear about that but I'm having quite a hard time understanding that.

Michal
Hi MichalS!

I faced the same problem, so after some research I found the following rule:

"So" can be combined with "many" or "few" + a plural noun to show extremes in amount. This form is often used in exclamations.

Examples:
  • I never knew you had so many brothers!
  • She has so few friends! It's really quite sad.
And of course the same rule applies to the situation you referred to "so much money" and "so little time".

"So" can be also combined with "much" or "little" + an uncountable noun => to show extremes in amount!
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Could you please specify the source?