Actual sentence:

"You're going to get an exam so simple that anyone can pass it."

"You're going to get an exam so simple anyone can pass it."

How about this:

"You're going to get an exam that simple anyone can pass it."

Does the sentence make sense?

2 Answers 2


Before answering your question, let me throw light on the use of 'so' and 'that'.

  1. So- 'So' is used to show/denote the amount/intensity of something. For Ex. It was so beautiful. Here 'so' denotes that the thing was very beautiful. The intensity of beauty was high. In your sentence, "the exam was so simple" , here 'so' denotes that the intensity of simplicity of exam was very high i.e the exam was very simple.

  2. That - In yours type of sentence, 'that' is used for 'Comparison', i.e to make comparison of one thing in the sentence to another. In the sentence, "You will get an exam that simple, anyone can pass it", here 'that' is making comparison of the of exam to an exam which is easy for anyone to pass.

So, yes your sentence does make sense. If you have any confusion or anything you want to clarify, tell me in the comment :)

  • 1
    Please, while your statements are true, you have missed that the sentence should have an article (an exam), and that the two can be combined (an exam so simple that…) Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 9:58
  • 1
    that is still fine in the given context, it works.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 10:21
  • Will, I combined the two. I do agree I missed out the article "an."
    – Rammy
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 10:23
  • @Kris yes, sorry, you don’t have to combine them ("…but when I do…") Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 10:29

The relevant usage is the one classically labelled 'adverb' shown by say CED:

that adverb ​ B2 as much as suggested:

She's too young to walk that far.

It wasn't (all) that (= very) good.

Note that 'so' can be substituted for 'that' in the first example, and without 'all' in the second.

This would appear to license the ' ... that + adjective + that ...' usage.

But it sounds so clumsy that it must be considered unidiomatic. This is brought out by these Google Ngrams for so simple that / that simple that; so far that / that far that; so small that / that small that; so heavy that / that heavy that. (Yes, there are 8 ngrams there!)

Omitting the second 'that' improves the situation somewhat, but 'so simple anyone could pass it' remains the favoured choice, as these Ngrams suggest.

'It was that simple, anybody could pass it!' is not unknown in informal/colloquial registers.

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