51 The Problem of “So”


For a two-letter word, so is awfully problematic at times.  In formal writing, it is almost always best to avoid using so as a simple intensifier modifying an adjective (“The essay is so brilliant!”), and generally best to try to avoid using it as a synonym for very, exceedingly, or extremely. We all use it this way in informal speech, but it is usually not appropriate to formal writing.

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