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As far as I know we can say "He is so good a person" for meaning "He is a very good person" or "He is a person who is so good" while we can't say "He is a so good person". Also we can say "He is too good a person" for meaning "He is a person who is too good" while we can't say "He is a too good person".

And again, as far as as I know, we can't say "They are so/too good people". Can I say "They are so/too good of people" like I can say "He is so/too good a person".

I mean, for meaning "They are people who are so good" or "They are very good people", can I say "They are so good of people"? And for meaning "They are people who are too good", can I say "They are too good of people"?

EDIT: I just found many results on Google for "He is too good a person" and "They are too good of people", but there are too few results for their versions with "so" instead of "too". It seems like we can use "too" in those kinds of sentences, but it is wrong to use "so" this way. What do you think?

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  • Basically? No. Not formally correct or colloquially idiomatic.
    – Darael
    Jul 4, 2018 at 17:12
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    No, you can't say "of people", because "they are people", not "they are of people".
    – stangdon
    Jul 4, 2018 at 17:26
  • @stangdon That structure is used. Jul 4, 2018 at 17:32
  • @Darael Thanks. I just found many results for "He is too good a person" and "They are too good of people", but there are too few results for their version with "so" instead of "too". It seems like we can use "too" in those kinds of sentences, but it is wrong to use "so" this way. What do you think? Jul 4, 2018 at 17:38
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    I don't know the technical terms, but using "so" as an adverb implies that more information is coming. For example, It's so hot outside, I saw a coyote chasing a jack rabbit and they were both walking! Occasionally it's used on it's own (e.g., You guys are so fast!), but that's very colloquial and is usually used as an emphasis indicating astonishment.
    – ScottM
    Jul 4, 2018 at 19:52

1 Answer 1

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You can say

He is too good of a person to have done something like that. Are you sure it was him?

He is too good a person to have done something like that. Are you sure it was him?

I hear too good of a {something} a lot (Central Atlantic American English).

It's too good of a deal to pass up.

But I haven't heard this construction used with a plural and without the singular indefinite article a.

They are too good of a team. We don't stand a chance.YES

They are too good of athletes. We don't stand a chance. NO

He is too good of an athlete. I don't stand a chance.YES

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  • Thanks. You can find examples on Google where it is used with plural subjects. Also, can't I simply say "He is too bad a person.", "He is too big a moron.", "She is too tall a girl." etc.? Do I have to say like "He is too short a guy to play basketball"? Jul 4, 2018 at 19:38
  • @Fire and Ice: I was editing as you were typing. Jul 4, 2018 at 19:40
  • Thanks again. We can't use that construction with "so", right? For example we can say "He is too bad a person.", but we can't say "He is so bad a person.", am I right? Jul 4, 2018 at 19:46
  • We can say He is so bad a person that I wish you were not working at his company. Jul 4, 2018 at 19:51
  • Thanks again. I have two more questions about this: 1) Can we drop "that" in that sentence? I think so. 2) Can't we say "He is so bad a person" for meaning "He is a person who is so bad.". I mean for saying that he is a very bad person? Jul 4, 2018 at 20:06

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