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I have come across this sentence in an English language study book (vocabulary for IELTS page 86):

  1. In unintentional cases, such as crimes committed by children or the insane, the criminal is not usually punished in the same way as is intentional.

I have read some pages talking about "as is", but their use case seems different or at least I couldn't relate them to this sentence. example 1 example 2 example 3

This sentence seems weird to me. Shouldn't it be:

  1. In unintentional cases, such as crimes committed by children or the insane, the criminal is not usually punished in the same way as it is intentional.

or:

  1. In unintentional cases, such as crimes committed by children or the insane, the criminal is not usually punished in the same way as the crime is intentional.

or:

  1. In unintentional cases, such as crimes committed by children or the insane, the criminal is not usually punished in the same way as they have committed an intentional crime.

Aren't these ones more natural and better choices?

Is the sentence number 1 appropriate for a formal writing (such as an English exam)? If it is, what is the grammar behind it?

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  • ...in the same way as [is] intended. Nov 3, 2022 at 19:10
  • None of the four examples are anywhere near valid English, which I think makes this question Off Topic proofreading Nov 3, 2022 at 19:14

2 Answers 2

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I found (1) hard to parse, it took me a few readings to understand. I believe it is saying that some crimes are considered to be "unintentional" and they are not usually punished in the same way as when (typically a sane adult) "intentionally" commits a crime.

(2, 3 and 4) Are, I think, misunderstanding (1).

(2) Might be rewritten as "... the same way as when it is intentional." I am not keen on this form as the meaning of "it" is not obvious.

(3) Might be rewritten as "...same way as when the crime is intentional." This is preferrable to (2) because the "it" of (2) is made explicit.

(4) Puts the words in the wrong order and might be rewritten as "... same way as when they have intentionally committed a crime.

I think the important part of my forms of (2, 3 and 4) is adding the word "when".

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The sentence is badly written English. The "as is intentional" portion is supposed to mean, "as is intentional crime", as in:

... the criminal is not usually punished in the same way as is intentional crime.

The verb "punish" can have (at least) two different types of direct objects: people, and bad actions. For instance, we can punish robbery, and we can punish robbers. When we punish robbery, we understand it means punish people who do robbery. So on the surface, it's correct to punish both criminals and crime, but the same instance of "punish" should not be used to have both meanings. In this sentence, "punish" is used in both ways, so it's bad writing.

So yes, the structure of "as is intentional" is correct in that "crime" is elided and understood. Here's a sentence that uses it correctly:

Unintentional crime is not usually punished in the same way as the intentional is.

Here, "crime" is elided after "intentional" and we understand "intentional" to mean "intentional crime".

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  • Does adding crime make it a well written English? Or does it just make it a tolerable one but still badly written?
    – alireza
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:55
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    @alireza No. Adding "crime" only makes it clearer to see what the original intent was, but doesn't change that it's a bad sentence. In the original, "intentional" is used to mean "intentional crime", where "crime" is elided. This elision itself is fine, though possibly confusing to English learners. I've added an example to the end of my answer
    – gotube
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:59

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