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We don't have to worry much, for with as so small an amount as is in his possession he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him.

I've made up this sentence and I'd like to know if the "for with as so" and the "as is in" parts are okay? Didn't I break any English rules here?

  • How absolutely normal sentence can be made complex using superfluous words! Actually, I need to learn this - an author style! No offense, please! :) – Maulik V Dec 28 '17 at 4:53
  • Just asking: any specific reason to choose 'possession?' – Maulik V Dec 28 '17 at 5:08
  • @MaulikV Yes, and it's not about money. It is about fuel. – SovereignSun Dec 28 '17 at 5:09
  • I think it's better this way: "We don't have to worry for, with so small an amount as is in his possession, he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him." I would get rid of the "as" there. You could also turn the "for" into "because". The "for" there is a synonym for "because", but it's a little old-fashioned and not as common as "because" in that situation. – Nick Dec 28 '17 at 5:58
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    Normally, in English, we use "as...as" in positive statements and "so...as" in negative statements. Your statement is negative, so it should be "so...as". You have a mixture above "as so...as". That is wrong; you have to pick one or the other. In some instances, they are interchangeable in Modern English, but there are some cases like the one above wherein the old rule of using "so...as" in the negative sounds better than using the positive "as...as". – Nick Dec 28 '17 at 6:04
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This sentence is a lot more complicated than it needs to be: that makes it hard for the writer to be sure that it is correct, and even harder for the reader to understand.

If you absolutely need to write something as complicated as this (and IMHO you don't need to here), it's generally a good idea to use the least ambiguous equivalant way of expressing each concept, for example for has two meanings (conjunction because and preposition intended for), so it is better to use because in a complex sentence like this.

We don't have to worry much, because with as so small an amount as is in his possession he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him.

your original sentence is almost correct, but you can't use an adverb of degree after the first as in an as..as construct because as..as is a kind of comparative. For example

as bald as a coot - ok
as very bald as a coot - not ok

Eliminating so and applying more conventional punctuation, we get:

We don't have to worry much because, with as small an amount as is in his possession, he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him.

Alternatively, you can keep so and eliminate the as.. as construction:

We don't have to worry much because, with so small an amount [of money] in his possession, he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him.

Better still, though, would be to cut out some of the entangled dead wood:

We needn't worry: we will eventually catch him because he won't get far with the amount [of money] he has.

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  • Isn't "as that big a house as his" a correct way of saying that a house is really big? I can't see a different way of saying it. – SovereignSun Dec 28 '17 at 5:15
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    "I have just as big a house as his" is how I would say it. I don't think I would add a "that" between "as" and "big". My statement doesn't necessarily mean that he has a really big house; it means that the size of my house is comparable, if not equal, to the size of his house. – Nick Dec 28 '17 at 6:25
  • @SovereignSun: no, you can't say "as that big a house as his". that is an intensifier, which works like an adverb of degree. See the examples here for how you use that and as... as to express the same idea... dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/pronouns/that – JavaLatte Dec 28 '17 at 12:34
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We don't have to worry much, for with as so small an amount as is in his possession he won't go far and we'll eventually catch him.

Grammar errors aside, I want to help you write in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Use short sentences. Make them simple and to the point. Keep related topics together.

The very beginning and the very end of your sentence are one thought: "We don't have to worry much…we'll eventually catch him." The part in the middle is the reason behind that thought: "with as so small an amount as is in his possession he won't go far."

So let's take the beginning and end and make it one sentence. The reasoning in the middle will be a second sentence. (I assume the "amount" you're talking about is money.) And we'll correct the grammar and tighten up the wording:

Don't worry, we'll catch him. He doesn't have much money and won't get far.

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