What does "as to" mean in this sentence "My English teacher's humor was such as to make every student burst into laughter."?

Thank you very much!

  • Actually you can find your answer in the dictionary easily
    – Ice Girl
    Jul 27, 2014 at 13:31
  • 1
    You're misparsing the interrelationships between individual words. There the collocation such as (meaning of a type that/which) and the infinitive verb form to make. Those two elements could both be replaced by alternative forms - "His humour was of a type that made everyone laugh". Jul 27, 2014 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


As to here is a piece of the construction BE such as to VERB.

In this construction, such represents, approximately, of such a quality or character, and the entire construction may be paraphrased as HAVE a quality which VERB.

My English teacher's humor had a quality which made every student burst into laughter.

In this particular instance, however, the semantics are a little more complicated. What you are talking about is a 'quality', humor, ascribed to the English teacher. Consequently, you may understand the collocation of humor and such as so humorous, and paraphrase this whole as

My English teacher was so humorous that he made every student burst into laughter.

The construction such as to is old-fashioned and rather pompous now ; I advise you to avoid it in your own writing and aim instead at more direct expressions, like my second paraphrase.

  • Definitely the right kind of answer for ELL. First, tell 'em what some construction means, and how the syntax hangs together (unless it's just some irregular idiomatic usage). Then offer pragmatic advice on whether it's worth the average learner aspiring to actually incorporate the form into their own utterances. For an awful lot of things learners find "strange", the best advice is not to incorporate them into one's own speech/writing, even if they are "valid". Jul 27, 2014 at 13:56

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