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I so captured your love that we got married.

It so captured his imagination.

Are these sentences grammatically correct? Why do they sound off putting? How would you explain to one to make them sound normal?

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    They're good, but high-toned. It's Biblical to say so loved, so the tone is set as fancy, formal, poetic. Not the daily chat except in academia. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 14:39
  • Although in informal speech you can hear so being used before the verb in statements like I so don't believe you!
    – fev
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 14:48
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    It's a fairly normal use of the so/such...that S construction. In this case so is picked because the insertion is a verb phrase; such only works before noun phrases. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 16:18
  • We do have a sister site — English Language Learners. If standard English sounds wrong to you, I think you should post there.
    – David
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 18:20

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it is.

"I so captured your love that we got married."

so
adverb
17 in such way as to end in: So live your life that old age will bring you no regrets.

In the sentence "I so captured your love that we got married," "so" means what it means as cited above from dictionary.com, or to paraphrase, "I captured your love in such a way that it ended up in us getting married." I'm sure you can appreciate the appeal of using "so" there, it being so less wordy.

"It so captured his imagination."

What exactly "so" means here is unclear without further context because there are many possible usages of "so" that may aptly apply here wherein its use would be proper.

Summary

From what you've provided, there's nothing indicating the use of "so" in either example is at all ungrammatical. The uses (and usages, whatever the second's may be) are perfectly natural and common. So why it "sounds wrong" to you, I'm sure I haven't any idea. It's anyone's guess.

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    I wouldn't entirely agree with the last paragraph. Grammatical it is, but not "perfectly natural and common". I think this use of so is either literary (as per Yosef Baskin's comment) or indicative of a gushing, excited, sort of speech.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 15:16
  • The sentence "I so don't agree with you that I'm going to disregard your comment" is just one perfectly natural example of how it is quite commonly used. Whether or not you agree or disagree is a matter of opinion and doesn't change the fact of the matter. By the way, say that it were "gushing," which it may be in the second instance but not the first, its use for "gushing," as it were, is likewise perfectly natural and common. Do you think people saying things like "I so love your outfit" is uncommon or unnatural in the slightest? It's not. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 15:22
  • The problem with using so as an adjective in this way is that nobody will know exactly what it means. Even though you only point this out for the second example, it is in fact true of both examples. So you should be careful about how you use it. You can find on the Internet examples where the meaning is clear, like "I so wanted to be a writer that it was devastating to get a B." These don't sound funny to me. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 15:31
  • Also, if the usage truly were "literary" or even just no longer in common use and thus archaic, the dictionary would note that next to the definition with the word "literary" or the word "archaic" in italics, as it often does. It does not, as my source shows. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 15:32
  • It isn't true that you shouldn't use "so" so on the basis that "nobody will know exactly what it means" because everybody may know very well exactly what it means by the context in which it appears. Nearly all words have multiple meanings, so on that basis, nobody should ever use any word with more than one meaning and we'd all be permanently silent, but it turns out we're not because we're perfectly capable of understanding one another as the greater context in which we use the words reveals what of the many meanings each word may have in our sentences means. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 15:50
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There are a few different meanings for the adverb "so". The second sentence could work if the meaning were "thus". (M-W says "in a manner or way indicated or suggested".) I'll include some context:

The mythical creature fascinated him, haunting his dreams every night. It so captured his imagination.

"So" is perhaps less common than "thus" with this meaning, but this sentence does make sense.


We can't do something similar for the first sentence because of the clause "that we got married". Instead, the meaning "to a great extent or degree : VERY, EXTREMELY" could work in the construction "so . . . that". (For example: "I am so tired that I can't stay awake any longer.") However, that might seem unusual in this sentence because we would have to assign a degree to "captured". (Can one be captured "to a great extent or degree"?1) Yet if we rephrase the sentence, then the "thus" meaning could work. For example:

I wooed you for months, serenaded you, and impressed your parents. I so captured your love, and we got married.


1The answer to this question may very well be "yes". Context would certainly be relevant, and it might sound natural to some people but not to others.

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