Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default 'so', 'too' - word order

    I have recently come across some strange looking sentences:

    'I haven't been to so enjoyable a party for ages.'
    'That was too boring a book to read.'

    I thought it was wrong, because I was accustomed to the word order as with 'such': "This is such an enjoyable party". Why is here the article between the adjective and noun? What is that pattern called, what does it exactly say, and what other words also come before the article?

  2. #2
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    434
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'so', 'too' - word order

    No, those aren’t “strange looking sentences” at all. They’re in fact very commonplace.

    ‘So’ & ‘too’ are adverbs; ‘such’ is an adjective. Remember adverb qualifies verb, adjective, another adverb or a whole sentence (absolutely); adjective principally qualifies noun only. In your 1st sentence, ‘so’ qualifies the adjective ‘enjoyable’ which in turn qualifies the noun ‘a party’. Similarly, in your 2nd sentence, ‘too’ qualifies the adjective ‘boring’ which in turn qualifies the noun ‘a book’. You therefore see the word order or pattern you have (ADV + ADJ + ART + N). Since ‘such’ is an adjective, it can’t qualify ‘enjoyable’ or ‘boring’. It can’t have the pattern you have in the first 2 sentences. It can qualify ‘party’ (N), ‘a party’ (ART + N) or ‘an enjoyable party’ (ART + ADJ + N). You therefore have the pattern ‘ADJ + ART + ADJ + N” that you have in the 3rd sentence.

  3. #3
    louhevly is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Barbados
      • Current Location:
      • Bahrain
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    114
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'so', 'too' - word order

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I have recently come across some strange looking sentences:

    'I haven't been to so enjoyable a party for ages.'
    'That was too boring a book to read.'

    I thought it was wrong, because I was accustomed to the word order as with 'such': "This is such an enjoyable party". Why is here the article between the adjective and noun? What is that pattern called, what does it exactly say, and what other words also come before the article?
    I would say "I haven't been to so enjoyable a party for ages" was a bit weird, bordering on wrong, though it may be a Britishism. For me it would be more natural to say "'I haven't been to such an enjoyable a party for ages." "such" can be an adverb: "I've never seen such beautiful flowers".

    The second sentence I find to be completely idiomatic, but I can't explain it. It's too strange a syntax for me to explain.

    Lou

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'so', 'too' - word order

    'I haven't been to so enjoyable a party for ages.'
    It is the equivalent of saying:
    I haven't been to a party (that was) so enjoyable for ages.
    The word order in the red version gives the statement a very refined, upper-class society cocktail party sound to it, on both sides of the Atlantic. It is how such people would say, "This party is a blast!"

    'That was too boring a book to read.'
    Again, as society matrons speak. It is the equivalent of saying:
    That was a book (that was) too boring to read.
    ...(but who would ever say that mouthful!)
    As the others have said, in the circles in which most of us travel, you would hear:
    "I haven't been to such an enjoyable party for ages."
    "That book was too boring to read/bother reading."

Similar Threads

  1. inverted word order
    By Bere*Nice in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Mar-2008, 17:43
  2. Word order
    By nyggus in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-Oct-2007, 18:20
  3. inverted word order
    By me538 in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Jan-2007, 10:09
  4. word order...
    By nautes20 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-Nov-2004, 12:38
  5. Questions about Inversions - Inverted Word Order
    By Anonymous in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 31-May-2003, 22:43

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk