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Your English: Word grammar: such

Type: Article

Such is the demand, Tim Bowen is back with another word grammar article. And it's such a useful one!

Such is most often used as a predeterminer with the indefinite article and a singular noun or as a determiner with plural nouns or uncountable nouns.

Examples of the first use are ‘If it’s such a secret, why did you tell me?' and 'We had kept the wine for just such an occasion'. Examples of the second use are 'Why did this awful tragedy happen here and now? Such questions are easier to ask than answer' and 'He has always had such concern and such compassion for others'.

Such can also function as a pronoun, as in 'They are seeking a million pounds in damages - such is the compensation culture in Britain today’ and ‘Their confidence was such that they went into the match with three youngsters in the team’. For extra emphasis in the latter use, such can appear in initial position with the subject and verb inverted, for example, ‘Such was his reputation in the city that no-one ever questioned his judgement’.

The expression and such is used to show that you could add other people or things like the ones you have just mentioned, as in ‘I always feel so out of place, what with all this talk about computers and such’.

Usually used in the negative, as such is used after a noun when you are referring to the usual meaning of the word, for example ‘It wasn't a business trip as such; it was more of a holiday to tell you the truth’.

Finally, the expression such as it is, is used to show that you do not have a particularly good opinion of the thing you have mentioned, as in ‘Our friendship, such as it is, has seen better days’.

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