Should I say "something is so mainstream" or "too mainstream". They are both grammatically correct but which one is more common to use?

  • 1
    That depends on context. "so mainstream" is more idiomatic and is ambiguous whether it is good or bad but "too mainstream" conveys a negative connotation. Aug 18 '14 at 17:24
  • 2
    Surely it's General Reference that in such contexts so = to [such a] considerable degree, whereas too = to an excessive degree. Aug 18 '14 at 17:55
  • Keep in mind that "it is so mainstream" is implying a missing clause - e.g., "Arcade Fire is so mainstream!" might be standing in for something like "Arcade Fire is so mainstream that Matt Lauer mentioned it on the Today Show last week." Aug 18 '14 at 18:32
  • Thanks for the feedback. really appreciated. Peope say that "something is so last season" and it still represents a negative connotation :) Why is that different?
    – Keeto
    Aug 18 '14 at 18:37

The word "so" is far over used today. I would avoid it entire if I could.

But I suggest that "too mainstream" implies that something is mainstream to the point of a detriment. As in, "that new restaurant is too mainstream for my liking."

To my eye, "so mainstream" implies that something is perfectly or near-perfectly in the mainstream. This infers neither positive nor negative characteristics, but may suggest preference based upon context. As in, "His Jazz music so mainstream that it reminds me of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis." In this, you do not know whether the speaker likes or dislikes "mainstream jazz" music, only that the music being compared to it is subjectively similar.


"So mainstream" can be descriptive. For example, "That play is so mainstream; I'm sure John will enjoy it."

"Too mainstream" is inherently evaluative, and negative.

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