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In the following sentence, the verbs 'explain and complete' are used and there is no noun after 'as'. How can this be explained in terms of grammar rules? Thanks.

The simple subject, with such words as explain or complete its meaning, forms the complete subject.

Kittredge , Farley and; Kittredge , Farley and. An Advanced English Grammar with Exercises (Kindle Location 760). Kindle Edition.

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    Parse the text as The simple subject, with [one of] the / those words which explain or complete its meaning, forms the complete subject. Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 15:14
  • The authors of this "Advanced Grammar" book must want to provide evidence of their qualifications by writing sentences only they are clever enough to understand.
    – Zwuwdz
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:06

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The simple subject, with such words as explain or complete its meaning, forms the complete subject.

I believe this is a dialectal or old-fashioned construction with the pattern such NP as VP. The Amazon description says "This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923." So probably old-fashioned.

Adding a modal verb like "may" would sound slightly better today:

  • The simple subject, with such words as may explain or complete its meaning, forms the complete subject.

I think it is saying that there may be modifiers of the simple subject, and taken together, the phrase is called the complete subject.

This construction appears to be on the way out, by the way, if this n-gram query is any indication.

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    It's still a construction that's current in formal English, but I wouldn't expect to hear it in casual or spoken English. Here's a contemporary example from a very formal letter: "to do all such things as may help prevent the proposal in its present form being enacted in Parliament". There are also set patterns like "such stuff as dreams are made of" (which is a quote from Shakespeare).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 31 at 16:55

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