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ADVERBS So for "such a"

So was often, and correctly, used (where we use the adverbial "such" or "so" with "a") before an adjective, e.g. "so great faith" where we say "such great faith," "so long time" where we say "so long a time." We seem to feel that "so" (being an adverb, and therefore more liable to transposition than the adjective "such") requires to be attached to the word which it qualifies, either (1) by introducing the article which necessarily links together the words thus: "so-great a-loss;" or else (2) by placing "so" in a position where its effect is equally unmistakeable: "a-loss so-great."

When the noun is in the plural we cannot use the former method; we are, therefore, driven to the latter, and instead of saying “So hard termes.” N. P. 176. we say "terms so hard."

“In so profound abysm I throw all care.

“My particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature.

“And I will call him to so strict account.

“With so full soul.

“Of so quick condition.

But note that in these instances the "so" follows a preposition. After prepositions the article (see Article, 90) is frequently omitted. Shakespeare could have written “My grief is of nature so floodgate, &c.” “I will call him to account so strict that, &c.”

Our modern usage was already introduced side by side with the other as early as Wickliffe. Compare “So long time.” St. John xiv. 9. with “So long a time.” Hebrews iv. 7.

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