Longtime ago, I learned that I should put the article "a/an" between "such" and a singular countable noun following "such." However, I have encountered many counterexamples like the following sentence I excerpted from the US Tax Code:

The Secretary of the Interior or such officer as he may designate, shall furnish the land offices at.

In addition, there are many similar usages of "such" in some contracts, including "such firm," "such person," etc.

... as interested in any transaction with such firm or company shall be sufficient disclosure for the purposes of voting on a resolution...

Can someone kindly explain to me why there's no article after "such" in the above-mentioned examples?

Thank you

  • 1
    It's because it's a legal document ans uses legalese which has its own cadence and syntax. – Peter Feb 25 '18 at 14:29
  • It is most often see in written laws (statutes). – Lambie Feb 25 '18 at 14:47

The form "such an officer" refers back to something said previously about types of officer. For example: "the Military Academy trains the best officers. Such an officer is undaunted by any task he is given." The words "such an officer" are another way of saying "an officer trained at the Academy" without repeating those words so soon, which would be tedious to read.

The form "Such A as B" is indeed most commonly encountered in legal language, because the specific requirement for that precision arises most frequently in such contexts. But it is not exclusively a technical legal term. It is a way of saying " one of type A who are also type B", as in, to use a non-legal example, "Such prime numbers that are the lower of a pair of primes whose difference is 2".

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