he is so/ too smart to make that mistake

POINT 1
I learnt that "so" and "too" refers to muy - very - a lot" but there is a distinction about their usage.

"So" conveys a positive meaning. And "too" could conveys a negative meaning.

POINT 2
Are correct the next examples?
Example 1.
"She thinks that he is so smart to make that mistake." She truly thinks that he is intelligent and she cannot believe that he had it wrong.

Example 2.
"She thinks that he is too smart to make that mistake". Here, she using a sarcams expressión meaning the he is not the enough clever.

Please, help me in both points.

Thanks!!!
 
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  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    1. She thinks that he is so smart to make that mistake. :cross:
    2. She thinks that he is too smart to make that mistake. :tick:

    The [too <adjective> to <do something>] pattern is normal. There isn't a similar pattern using "so".
    But there is a pattern [so <adjective> that <something>]. So you can say:

    3. She thinks that he is so smart that he won't (/can't/wouldn't) make that mistake. :tick:
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "She thinks that he is too smart to make that mistake" is fine, but it means she doesn't think he will make the mistake. "Too" in this construction means more than is/would be required or needed. A person who isn't smart might make the mistake, but she thinks he has more than this level of smartness, so he won't.

    I don't think that "so" + adjective can be followed by an infinitive (or anything else for that matter). "So" means "very" when followed by an adjective, and can be positive or negative. "Too" means "excessively", and tends to be negative.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    "So" means "very" when followed by an adjective, and can be positive or negative.
    In AE, that is true in exclamations, but not in statements (where "very" is used instead).

    Sammy is so smart! :tick:
    Roger is so ugly! :tick:

    Sammy is very smart and will probably win. :tick:
    Sammy is so smart and will probably win. :cross:
     
    She thinks that he is so smart that he won't (/can't/wouldn't) make that mistake.
    "Too" means "excessively", and tends to be negative.

    Does "She thinks that he is too smart to make that mistake" have a negative sense?
    Like sarcasm or irony meaning?
    For example, in Spanish "muy" meaning can be modified by tone voice.
    El es muy inteligente. Here the statement is that he is intelligent.
    El es "muy" inteligente. Here, the tone voice has sarcams nuance meaning that he is no really intelligent.
    For example, I am not able to make artistic drawing, If I make one, some one could say: Te quedó "muy" bonito. (with a sarcams nuance) referring it is not nice or "well done".

    P.S. Forgive me if a I am not catching the knowledge through your comments but I prefer ask again.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    the tone voice has sarcams nuance
    It's the same in English -- it is the voice inflection, not the words.

    So "She thinks he is too smart to make that mistake." is not sarcastic. It is a simple statement of fact.

    But people can say statements of fact sarcastically. How do we know the difference?
    Fluent speakers know from the tone. Or sometimes the situation tells us:

    Adult Tom: I took out the trash.
    Adult Susan: I'm so proud of you! (this is sarcasm)

    3-year-old Tom: I took out the trash.
    Adult Susan: I'm so proud of you! (this is real praise)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    In recent decades there is disagreement about using "so" this way (in statements).

    Old-school grammar (the grammar I learned) says it is unacceptable.

    But nowadays many people use it this way. So it must be acceptable.
     
    Hi again.

    I thought in this two examples in order to ask again.

    Example 1.
    This piece is so heavy to lift it. Use a forklift in order to lift it.

    Example 2.
    This piece is too heavy to lift. Leave it, we will use another piece.


    The consequence of being very heavy.

    I thought that "so" and "too" gave the following message regarding the piece.

    In the first example, although it is very heavy, it is still necessary (And for this reason "so" was used).
    In the second example the fact that it is very heavy causes it to be discarded (And for this reason "too" is used).
     

    MathCoach

    New Member
    English
    Another example:
    This piece is so (or "too") heavy! It's far too heavy for me to lift on my own. It's so heavy that it would take (or I would need) a forklift to lift it.
     
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