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Can I use "adj plus uncountable noun" between "as...as"? Do the two following sentences sound natural to you, native speakers? "Hardly ever have I heard as impressive music as this." "I can’t drink as sweet coffee as this."

Thank you very much!

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The way you have phrased it is understandable, but awkward. You can use this construction with a countable noun:

Let me tell you, I have never seen as great an audience as this one.

If you replace the countable noun with an uncountable noun, it sounds less idiomatic:

* Let me tell you, I have never heard as loud applause as I heard just then.

It would be more idiomatic to rephrase it in one of two ways. First, as CocoPop suggested, you can unpack the noun phrase so that the noun comes before the first "so":

Let me tell you, I have never heard applause as loud as I heard just then.

Or you can replace the first "as" with "such". This is a somewhat more formal construction, but it sounds more idiomatic (at least in American English) than "so...so" in this context.

Let me tell you, I have never heard such loud applause as I heard just then.

One of the issues with your suggested sentence is the first half: "Hardly ever have I heard" is a somewhat stilted construction, and it accentuates the awkwardness of the rest of the sentence. "I have hardly ever heard" would be more idiomatic in spoken English and clearer and less stilted in written English.

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No, they don't sound natural. With uncountable nouns, there's a different syntax:

Hardly ever have I heard music as impressive as this.

I can't drink coffee as sweet as this.

  • For that matter, even with countable nouns it sounds archaic and unnatural. "We don't have as young people as we used to." – Joe Z. Jun 27 '14 at 15:35
  • To me, "people" is collective and thus marginally uncountable, although obviously people can be counted. With countable nouns, the syntax would change to a singular noun with the indefinite article: "We don't have as big a house as this." – CocoPop Jun 27 '14 at 16:18
  • I think basically anything other than an uncountable singular can't be used in that way. – Joe Z. Jun 27 '14 at 17:52
  • I think you're right – CocoPop Jun 27 '14 at 18:33
  • Thank you very much! Does this sentence "The shop sells so expensive goods that I want to buy nothing in it" sound natural to you? – April Jun 29 '14 at 10:13

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