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I've been reading the book She Said and get completely confused with this sentence in the book.

Here it is:

She would be required to provide such reasonable assistance as it may request in taking such steps as are prudent to deal with the foregoing to prevent any further disclosure or as the case may be to mitigate such effect.

I was confused from the "as it may request" part. The two "as" in this sentence: which one is preposition and which one is conjunction?

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    Wow! Was that actually part of the book's main text? It looks like an extreme example of "legalese" to me. I'd say all three instances of as in that sentence are performing the same syntactic role (the assistance which it requests, the steps which are prudent, or which may be the case). But I don't know or care whether they're "preps" or "conjs". Whatever - this is hardly suitable text for non-native speakers to use to learn English. It's probably only intended to be "facetious" (poking fun at legalese) for native speakers anyway. Jul 6, 2020 at 16:21
  • Thanks for ur explanation.This sentence is indeed quoted from legal settlements according to the book.
    – Ann
    Jul 6, 2020 at 16:36
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    I agree with FumbleFingers, this is bad even for "legalese", they could at least add some commas in what I take to be a list...
    – sharur
    Jul 6, 2020 at 16:42
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    I could always be mistaken, but I'd be pretty sure it's not an actual legal text at all - it's effectively a (facetious) caricature of legalese. So strictly speaking, in context, even native speakers aren't really expected to understand it. Whatever - pedants and grammarians could have a field day arguing over whether an article is syntactically required or not in that final to mitigate such an effect. My guess is it is required - but by the time we've waded through all the text up to that point, who cares? Jul 6, 2020 at 16:50
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    Syntactically, in modern grammar "as" is never a conjunction, but only a preposition, or adverb. In your sentence, it's a preposition in both cases. Others have provided you with the meaning.
    – BillJ
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:49

3 Answers 3

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She would be required to provide "such reasonable assistance as it may request in taking such steps as are prudent to deal with the foregoing to prevent any further disclosure or as the case may be to mitigate such effect."

Basically this horrible tangle of words means:

when "it" requests help, do what makes sense (given the foregoing) to prevent/mitigate any further disclosure

The two "as"in this sentence,which one is prep. and which one is conj.?

Objects of prepositions have to be nouns. If you see an article, what follows is always a noun. So the first as is a conjunction and the second as is a preposition.

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This sounds like boilerplate legalese as part of a non-disclosure agreement or other contract, and appears written to be purposefully vague and confusing so that it remains open to wide interpretation by whoever wrote it.

She would be required to provide such reasonable assistance as it may request

She, presumably a party to this contract, may be called upon to perform a service ("reasonable assistance")...

in taking such steps as are prudent to deal with the foregoing

"the foregoing" is whatever the rest of the contract says.

to prevent any further disclosure or as the case may be to mitigate such effect.

The goal here is to prevent some kind of "disclosure", and so this document states that "she" (whoever that is) may be obligated to perform a service with the goal of preventing disclosure or mitigating the effect of that disclosure if "it" (whatever that is) requests that she do so.

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“It” is likely to request her assistance in preventing further disclosure (or, if that is impossible, to minimize the harm caused by disclosure). She must then provide reasonable assistance, by taking prudent steps for that purpose. The qualifier reasonable implies that her duty is limited by common sense; it shall not require her to commit any crimes or endanger her health.

The first two instances of as are each paired with such; the combination is like “which”: such steps as are prudent is equivalent to those steps which are prudent.

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