Can such be used in the following sentence?

The ball came at such speed that ...

I'd never phrase it like that. More to the point, I am in doubt as to whether such can be used with an uncountable noun in that sort of construction. Speed can be considered countable or at least measurable (e.g. at the speed of 100kph).

To sum it up, is the sentence in question correct in all circumstances?

  • 2
    I read it as having a hidden implied word subsequent to the word "such", (example: "The ball came at such a great speed that...") – Othya Aug 19 '16 at 15:37
  • Used in this way, "such" simply adds emphasis, like "You're such an idiot" or "That was such a good film". As @Othya says, "such speed" is a contraction of "such a great speed". – Max Williams Aug 19 '16 at 15:38
  • 2
    I don't think it has to be great speed, it just has to be somehow defined speed, even if it was slow. – Helmar Aug 19 '16 at 15:43
  • @Helmar of course... "great" was merely an example. – Othya Aug 19 '16 at 15:44
  • The most useful definition of a count noun usage is probably one where numerals may be inserted. Here, 'speed' is non-count (*The balls came at two such speeds that), but count usages are possible (The trains were travelling at two very different speeds). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '16 at 16:30

Sure it can.

Oxford Dictionary Online:

Such 3 DETERMINER To so high a degree; so great (often used to emphasize a quality):

this material is of such importance that it has a powerful bearing on the case

You could easily take their example sentence and change importance with speed.

This car drives at such speed that using seat belts is advisable.

Or your own:

The ball came at such speed that evading it was impossible and the only option was catching it with the face.

  • 'Such' can also be a demonstrative determiner: '... . Such speeds are dangerous.' – AmI Aug 19 '16 at 22:12

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