as such 'therefore'
Arnold M. Zwicky
zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Nov 19 18:19:05 UTC 2005
just came across "as such" 'therefore, as a result, and so' in
Matt Adams, Hustlers, Escorts, and Porn Stars: The Insider's Guide to
Male Prostitution in America (Las Vegas NV: Insider's Guide, 2nd ed.
p. 36: Many hustlers either live at home or live with roommates. As
such, many hustlers operate in alleys or back streets where they can
perform their services in the front seat of the car or at a secluded
outdoor area. [i would have used a commas before the second "or",
but that's not what i'm looking at here.
p. 77: Many clients cannot be reached directly for one reason or
another or do not have the patience to wait for callbacks that may
never occur. As such, many clients will call several advertisements
in a magazine in the hopes one escort will either the phone directly
or will promptly return their page.
it turns out that Paul Brians has already noted this usage, in
The expression “as such” has to refer to some status mentioned
earlier. “The CEO was a former drill sergeant, and as such expected
everyone to obey his orders instantly.” In this case “such” refers
back to “former drill sergeant.” But often people only imply that
which is referred to, as in “The CEO had a high opinion of himself
and as such expected everyone to obey his orders instantly.” Here the
“such” cannot logically refer back to “opinion.” Replace “as such”
(MWDEU has an entry on "as such", but it's about its use to
emphasize an immediately preceding phrase.)
so the objection is to implicit (rather than explicit) reference and
is akin to objections to anaphoric island violations (I speak
Norwegian, but I've never been there), summative relative clauses
(The flask exploded, which caused us to flee the lab) and
participials (The flask exploded, causing us to flee the lab).
people who use "as such" this way clearly mean something like 'as
such Xs, as Xs of the sort just described' (or the singular version
of this, depending on the context):
Many hustlers live at home... As such people, many hustlers
Many clients cannot be reached... As such people, many clients
(i would certainly go for anaphoric "they" rather than repeating
"many Xs", in adams's originals and in these paraphrases. as you can
see just from these short passages, adams is not a very accomplished
so you can see how the expression arises. i'm not comfortable with
it, but it might be the wave of the future, just because it's short.
(i know, "therefore" and "and so" are short too, but someone who uses
"as such" this way might well argue that these alternatives don't
convey quite the right meaning, which concerns properties of
referents, not relations between propositions.) after all, i've
gotten used to topic-marking "as far as" (As far as length, the paper
should be at least 20 pages). i don't use it myself, but i no longer
twinge at it.
*he's not even the most accomplished writer in the little world of
user's guides to male prostitutes. he did have a long career as an
"escort" (the top-of-the-line status in this world), and he seems to
know his stuff, but he could really use an editor. maybe he could
arrange a trade of services. he's in las vegas, by the way.
arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)
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