I know that 'be in good shape' means someone is very healthy and in very good condition. I also learned the sentence that 'someone is in such a good sth'. So my question is, which one should I say in these two sentences:

  • He is in such good shape

  • He is in such a good shape.


He is in such good shape.

In American English, I would not expect to hear He's in such a good shape.

In shape is a fixed expression. Together the two words act as an adjective meaning something like "healthy." To qualify the adjective, one modifies "shape" with "good," "very," "bad" or the like.

The subject of the sentence is not literally inside of a shape & shape does not take an article. Meaning is not preserved if you try to reconfigure the sentence to lose the in. (e.g. "I am impressed by the shape you are in" does not mean the same thing as "I am impressed by your shape." The first sentence is about your health. The second is about your dimensions and contours.)

Contrast with "mood." "In mood" is not a fixed expression, and we do put an article in front of mood. He is in such a bad mood

  • "That transforming robot is in a good shape. It looks just like a sewing machine!" Here the robot has literally changed to a particular shape, which I am impressed by. – Adam Mar 1 '16 at 21:41
  • I think the transforming robot comment actually detracts from your answer... – T.J.L. Mar 2 '16 at 13:38
  1. You can use such + a / an + adjective + noun:
    • He's in such a good shape.
  2. You can also use such + adjective + plural countable/uncountable noun:
    • He's got such beautiful curves.

"In such good shape" implies the general pointing out to the fact that person is in good health. "In such a good shape" indicates more of an admiration or little bit of awe in having good shape (You are such in a good shape. Last time I saw you, you looked like a baby pig)

  • Your first example is exactly what the question is asking about, and it is the awkward phrasing that nobody should use. The second sentence is X highly insulting, and not something you would pair with a compliment. – T.J.L. Mar 1 '16 at 22:52
  • Well second sentence is a "compliment" from the user point of view (who is kind of ignorant ) but not for the recipient. There are many people using second sentence in daily lives specially relatives. My explanation is based on real life use which I have generally seen around. Obviously the 'aunts' think they are complimenting their nephew/niece on their transformation. – khushboo gupta Mar 2 '16 at 5:40
  • You're focusing on the second sentence too much; I mentioned it as a side comment. The first sentence is the problem. It should read "You are in such good shape." – T.J.L. Mar 2 '16 at 13:35

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