Make Your Editor Cry: As Such

Make Your Editor Cry:  As Such

The expression “as such” must refer to some status—an antecedent noun or noun phrase—mentioned earlier. The CMOS explains it like this (emphasis mine):

Literature and speech abound with dangling usage of [“as such”]. “As such” is not a substitute for “therefore.” Rather, “such” must refer to an antecedent noun or noun phrase in order for “as such” to make grammatical sense (and yes, it’s a matter of grammar). As a test, ask yourself “as what?”

That probably reads as confusing. Try this.

Correct example:

He was a notoriously impatient man, and as such when he missed the boat due to a traffic jam, he was furious.

In this example, “such” refers to a notoriously impatient man. As what? As a notoriously impatient man. This is a correct usage.

Incorrect example:

He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam and as such, he missed the boat.
He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam and as such, [As what? No antecedent] he missed the boat.

In this example, there is no antecedent. As what? Dunno. This is an incorrect usage.

Examples from the CMOS:

We were a gaggle of skinny, giggling adolescent girls. As such, we were immediately drawn to the crowd of tall, goofy boys.
We were a gaggle of skinny, giggling adolescent girls. As such [As what? As a gaggle of girls], we were immediately drawn to the crowd of tall, goofy boys.
The matter was left to a group of indecisive ninnies, and as such, they resorted to the toss of a coin.
The matter was left to a group of indecisive ninnies, and as such [As what? As indecisive ninnies], they resorted to the toss of a coin.

To correct it, replace “as such” with words like “because of this or that,” “so,” “thus,” “therefore” etc.

Examples:

He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam, and because of that he missed the boat.
He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam, and thus he missed the boat.
He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam, and therefore he missed the boat.
He arrived at the dock an hour late due to the traffic jam, and so he missed the boat.

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