“That’s so a construction!”
Some reflections on innovative uses of “so” in Present-day English
This paper provides a fine-grained analysis of the “X is so N(P)” constructionin present-day English, in which the noun in the A slot necessarily involvesmetonymic inferencing and can be determinerless, even if it is countable. Thisconstruction conveys a positive or negative assessment by the speaker/writerof a given person, entity, event or state of affairs, with some interpretationsexhibiting a higher degree of conventionalization than others. From a syntagmaticviewpoint, the construction under scrutiny instantiates a step-wise,gradual transition from noun to adjective in the A slot (e.g. “That’s so applepie”< “That’s so cool”). Our analysis also reveals the existence of paradigmaticsets with other intensifiers (e.g. “very”, “quite”, “totally”, “really”, “too”) in predicativeand attributive contexts.