Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

I am so sorry

I cringe when I read (a million times a week), “I am so sorry,” “I am so happy”...

It feels like there is part of the statement missing, like “I am so happy I could cry,” or “I am so sorry, I don’t  know what to say.” Is “so anything” a legitimate phrase on its own? Or am I right in thinking it needs more?

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Merriam-Webster calls this specific usage "intensive," meaning "so" just intensifies the following adjective. It says, "The intensive use of so is widely condemned in college handbooks but is nonetheless standard." In other words, it's an informal use. Formal use of "so" must suggest a specific manner/way, as your examples do.

Dyske May-08-2018

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What happens is that those kind of phrases are used immediately or shortly after said incident happens so speakers take it as a nuance to repeat what you did to the recipient.
Agreeing with Dyske here, "so" replaces "extremely" or any other intensifying adverb in regular speech. For example, we don't say "I am extremely sorry"; we say, "I am SOOO sorry". Speakers use "so" when they are explaining something like a retelling of an event and even this is optional. For example, you could either say "I talked so fast" or "I talked so fast nobody could understand me". The second one is to give the recipient an idea of how fast you were actually talking.

Areitoyaya Jun-05-2018

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