Is "is" optional in the following? Do a and b have practically the same meaning? Do the as's have the same meaning in the three sentences?

a. You can use portions of the text as (is) permitted by law.

b. As (is) permitted by law, you can use portions of the text.

c. As (is) well known, the country is rich in oil.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • as in C is not a subordinator but a relative. is is required in C but not in A or B. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 1 '18 at 21:33

The reason why your first two examples are written...

You can use portions of the text as is permitted by law.

... is because the law may not permit using portion of the text at all.

If it simply said "as permitted by law" it could be interpreted that the law definitely permits it. For comparison, if you read that an item of clothing was "as worn by celebritites" it is a statement of fact.

"The law" is ambiguous too. If this was specific to a particular country or state then it could reference a specific law, but as written this statement could be intended for a wider audience, because by saying "*as is permitted by law" you are placing onus on the reader to check what the law permits or does not permit.

Your third example is slightly different:

As is well known, the country is rich in oil.

This is more idiomatic and is just an alternative way of saying "It is well known that....". There really is no difference in meaning, except that the emphasis is on a different part of the statement. In my alternative example, the focus is on the fact that this information is well known; whereas in your example the phrasing is more focused on the country's oil wealth and the fact it is well known seems like an interesting aside.

  • I don't think it's the presence or absence of the auxiliary verb is that governs whether we see as [is] permitted by law as a "restrictive or non-restrictive" clause. To the extent that the ambiguity can be resolved, it's the presence or absence of a comma in example #1. And approximately speaking, that ambiguity doesn't really exist with example #2 because de facto, moving the relative clause to the front makes it "non-restrictive" - using [any] portions of the text is legal. – FumbleFingers Oct 1 '18 at 14:07
  • @FumbleFingers True that losing the auxillary verb doesn't make it exlusively restrictive, but it could be interpreted that way. Including it makes it clear the reader has the responsibility to check what is/isn't allowed. – Astralbee Oct 1 '18 at 14:24
  • I'd say any ambiguity could only really appear in a written context, because in speech (what I'd call "real" language) pauses and/or intonation would make the intended meaning crystal clear. I honestly couldn't say whether I agree with you that presence/absence of is makes a significant difference though, since whenever I read the text I have no choice but to internally "vocalise" it (by which time my choice must already have been made! :) But I now I think about it, including only before use would be a pretty good "disambiguator", written or spoken. – FumbleFingers Oct 1 '18 at 15:37
  • I see no difference between "An item of clothing as worn by celebrities" and "as is worn by celebrities". They mean exactly the same thing....And I don't think "as permitted by law" and "as is permitted by law" is any different. Both mean: as the law permits. And, of course, the law may not permit it at all but neither implies it does. – Lambie Oct 1 '18 at 23:08

a. You can use portions of the text as (is) permitted by law.

  • ||Using portions of the text|| ||is permitted|| by law||. [passive] Ergo, due to structural equivalence, one can write: either "is permitted" or "permitted".

1) You can use them as ||is permitted|| by law. 2) You can use them as ||permitted|| by law. 3) You can use them as the law permits. [active]

1) and 2) mean the same thing. They just reflect different parses, both of which come from an implied passive.

b. As (is) permitted by law, you can use portions of the text.

See above. The same analysis would apply.

c. As (is) well known [by people], the country is rich in oil.

  • It ||is well-known|| [by people] the country is rich in oil. [passive]

The implied passive is the same as in the other sentences. "As is" and "as" basically are the same thing. It depends on whether you choose to include the is/are portion of the implied passive.

As is well known [by everybody] = As well known [by everybody]

There is no difference in meaning. as here means "when considered in a specified form or relation" and is used before a participle or preposition. Definition from: Merriam Webster- as

As are given in the index, all the items are plural.

1) As are given in the index 2) As given in the index

Same thing.

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