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Customer Discussions > Religion forum

"As such" - what does this phrase contribute to a sentence?


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Showing 1-25 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 28, 2012 11:05:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 11:16:43 AM PST
'probabilist says:
I often run across sentences (not so frequently here, but much so elsewhere) that begin with the phrase "As such".

But the phrase has no meaning for me. Perhaps it's just not part of my particular regional vocabulary.

It always seems to me, when I see it, that the phrase could be omitted without affecting the sense of the sentence at all.

Am I missing something?

(I'm asking this question on this forum because I know it has many posters who understand English writing style very well.)

Thanks,

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:02:16 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
The phrase 'as such' generally refers back to something posited in the previous sentence, often a definitional statement. The sentence then starting with 'as such', will build on that previous statement to take the issue, whatever it is, to the next level of explication. That's the only circumstance I use it in.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:05:00 PM PST
Wulfwig Fox says:
I think it's the synonym for the Latin 'per se'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:09:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 12:10:57 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
According to Wiki, the literal meaning of per se is 'in itself'. Not the same as 'as such'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:13:18 PM PST
Wulfwig Fox says:
per means for and se means itself.

But the English 'for itself' wouldn't sound right so you get other options:

per se: adverb - in itself, essentially, *as such*, in essence, by itself, of itself, by definition, intrinsically, by its very nature

e.g. I'm not opposed to capital punishment per se.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:18:02 PM PST
sfon says:
As explained by S. Kessler: 'as such' is a transitional phrase which refers to/builds upon previous statements. It is often used in the same sense as 'therefore...' or 'in light of this...', etc.

I tend to use it a lot. I believe I picked up this particular habit from reading Jefferson.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:29:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 12:31:48 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
I get it when per se is used at the end of a sentence like in your example. But I think 'as such' used to open a sentence has a different meaning, as I explained. The implication of the phrase is that "based on the foregoing information, 'x' is the case". Here's an example:

Political parties are made up of diverse individuals with some common ideas. As such, they can be almost as divisive within the ranks as they are with opposing political parties when the diversity is polarizing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:40:37 PM PST
Wulfwig Fox says:
Well, the context wasn't defined by the OP. It only said 'at the beginning of sentences'.

I recognize your example. But it can be a grammatically incorrect (and overused) transitional phrase.

I've seen per se being used as the beginning of a sentence.

I don't want to pursue this any further.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 5:46:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 5:48:24 PM PST
'probabilist says:
S. Kessler wrote:

---------------------------
The implication of the phrase is that "based on the foregoing information, 'x' is the case". Here's an example:

Political parties are made up of diverse individuals with some common ideas. As such, they can be almost as divisive within the ranks as they are with opposing political parties when the diversity is polarizing.
---------------------------

Thanks, SK! I found this very helpful.

'prob

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 6:32:04 PM PST
Songbird says:
That gives me a thread idea....

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 6:40:41 PM PST
'probabilist says:
,.-)

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 8:40:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 8:51:02 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Now that I have S. Kessler's example to work with, I've come across a use of "As such" (in a post on another thread here) that makes sense to me. See below. Thanks again!

'prob

__________________________________________________________________
On the thread titled "Why do some theists care about atheists & empiricists?"
The Weasel wrote:

--------------------------------------------
Anyone who is different is a threat.

How else can you explain fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims claiming that the other is the devil? They are both autocratically and rigidly conservative in their views of society and their religion. As such you would expect them to be natural allies instead of mortal enemies.
--------------------------------------------

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 8:44:22 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
Excellent!

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 8:54:03 PM PST
One meaning would be: literally rather than figuratively. Another would be: in a named role rather than in some other role.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:33:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 10:39:06 AM PST
Thank you for the intrigue, 'prob.

The use of "as such" would indicate that the sentence before it did not sufficiently explain a situation. I would see the use of the expression as a weakness of style, a grinding repetition, rather than a development of it.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 11:06:49 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 2, 2012 8:41:21 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 11:25:11 AM PST
Songbird says:
Lovely poem, Clarissa!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 11:35:26 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 2, 2012 8:41:25 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 12:04:39 PM PST
Irish Lace says:
When I hear it I think of it as verbal shorthand for "such as it is/was."

"The fire had gone out in the huge hearth but a small coal brazier stood in one corner glowing feebly. As such, the only two occupants were huddled together there and did not hear me enter."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 1:03:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 1:09:29 PM PST
D. Thomas says:
Both "per se" and "as such" are often used to mean "specifically that, but not necessarily including all aspects of that."

Bairn's example ("I'm not opposed to capital punishment per se") is a good illustration. The writer is not opposed to capital punishment, but may object to hanging and other inhumane methods of execution. Or to public executions. Or to capital punishment for murders that aren't unusually heinous. Or to all of the above - we don't know yet, but {per se / as such} alerts us that we're going to find out.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 3:23:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 4:13:10 AM PST
Bairn,

"As such" is an external manifestation of what is being discussed. "Per se" is deeper qualitatively.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 3:31:13 PM PST
Songbird says:
Can you link me the thread? I didn't see it in the literature forum.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 3:38:10 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 2, 2012 8:41:34 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 5:07:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2012 5:10:11 PM PST
Conley Thorn says:
BAIRN: "per se: adverb - in itself, essentially, *as such*, in essence, by itself, of itself, by definition, intrinsically, by its very nature"

THORN: Yours is probably as good a spread of general interpretations as any. Language is tricky as hell. I've always thought of per se as emphasizing intrinsicallity and excluding tangentials. As for "As such," S.K. is right about its use in beginning a sentence, which I think answers 'prob's question. The phrase, I think, is as often, or possibly more often, used within or to terminate a sentence. In those cases, I think it's usually intended to mean about the same as "per se."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 5:42:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2012 5:43:16 PM PST
RE: I would see the use of the expression as a weakness of style, a grinding repetition, rather than a development of it.

For the sake of consistency, you'd also then have to find "as a result of," "in light of that," "therefore," or "given that" to be "weakness of style, a griding repitition (sic)."

But your perception is quite clearly inaccurate, as demonstrated perfectly by S Kessler:

"Political parties are made up of diverse individuals with some common ideas. As such, they can be almost as divisive within the ranks as they are with opposing political parties when the diversity is polarizing."

Not everything can be explained in one sentence, and this is a good example of "as such" being used to" take the issue to the next level of explication." (Again, credit the quote to SK, who explained it so well.) Clearly the second sentence, with "as such," builds upon the first.

You can combine the two sentences into one long one to beef it up, but stylistically it would look a bit run-on and doesn't work as well. And you can't get both thoughts into anything shorter, so there you go.

It sounded like you just wanted to be critical for the sake of being critical. That can work depending on the situation, but you have to have something to sell in the first place.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  38
Initial post:  Nov 28, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 12, 2012

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