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She was relieved to find no one there [in a church], because she hadn't formulated a coherent story as to why she was.

From: Still Alice

Words in bold are odd to me. What does as to mean here? Why is it why she was but not why she was there? Please elaborate it. Thank you.

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  • Maybe "[...] a coherent story [explaining] why she was [in the church]". Like Absolute Beginner said, we need more context to be sure. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:36
  • She was relieved to find no one there......as to why she was(there).
    – user5267
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:38

1 Answer 1

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She was relieved to find no one there [in a church], because she hadn't formulated a coherent story as to why she was [there].

This is an example of not having to repeat an entire verb phrase in English. The idea is implied in the verb to be or for non-to be verbs by the helping verb. In the case of BE + at some place, the verb /was/ is used for /was there/

"He loved playing tennis but he didn't know if she did." did= [if she loved playing tennis] = an example not using the verb /to be/

"She was spending a lot of time studying but didn't think her boyfriend was". WAS=spending a lot of time studying.

"They'd been having fun for weeks but thought their friends weren't. weren't=weren't having fun

This is an important aspect of English to master if you want to speak it at a high level of competence.

as to means concerning or regarding.

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  • I found the definition of "as to sth" on my dictionary yesterday, it said "used when you are referring to something", is this the correct explanation for the "as to" in my post? And thank you for your advice! Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 2:56
  • @JasmineKuo Yes, it is. But that sounds like a government bureaucracy. The best ending for the setence is: a story about WHY she was.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 13:42

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