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Why does the article change positions in the following?

such a good person

so good a person

Haven't been able to answer my student's question on this one, and if you change the adjectives to "very good", it becomes a very good person or so very good a person. I'm sure there must be a reason. :)

marked as duplicate by tchrist Aug 3 at 21:29

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  • Such a good question. Such a dearth of good answers. So slim a chance of being answered .... – Araucaria Mar 6 at 22:25
  • @Laurel How could this be a duplicate of that when that doesn't address such, which also occurs before the determiner, in any way? – Araucaria Mar 6 at 22:28

"Such" is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns or noun phrases. In the example "such" is modifying the entire noun phrase "a good person."

"So" on the other hand is an adverb. Adverbs modify adjectives (as well as verbs and other adverbs, although those two aren't relative here). "So" is modifying just the adjective "good"

For reference, see the Merriam Webster definitions for such and so.

  • If you read the whole definition, you'll see that 'such' can be an adjective or an adverb, and when the modified phrase begins with an article, 'such' must be an adverb, not an adjective (cf. *some a good person). – AmI Mar 6 at 20:07

You don't add an article before an adjective unless the adjective is placed right before a noun.


such a good person - correct

such a good - incorrect


he is a fine artist - correct

he is a fine - incorrect

Hope I answered your question.

I recommend the following sites for great grammar info:



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