Mechanics’ Institutions were established in the hope of popularizing scientific knowledge, and incidentally making the workman better at his work. The latter motive at first received the chief emphasis. At Manchester, for example, the preamble declared that “this society was formed for the purpose of enabling Mechanics and Artizans of whatever trade they may be, to become acquainted with such branches of science AS [my emphasis] are of practical application in the exercise of that trade, that they may possess a more thorough knowledge of their business, acquire a greater degree of skill in the practice of it, and be qualified to make improvements and even new inventions in the Arts which they respectively profess.”

1. Is there a pronoun missing before are of practical application? I tried to rewrite to understand:

At Manchester, for example, the preamble declared that “this society was formed for the purpose of enabling Mechanics and Artizans ..., to become acquainted with branches of science such AS ??? are of practical application** in the exercise of that trade,...

2. Shouldn't that be 'so that' or 'in order that'? What's this problem called?


2) that can sometimes be used to mean so that or in order that, but this is mostly archaic or literary.

Wretches hang that jurymen may dine Alexander Pope, The rape of the lock.

1) Such branches of science as are of practical application

is fine as it is.

For the use of of, check meaning 5

*Some branches of science are of practical application, and some branches of science are not of practical application.

Those branches that are of practical application should be the ones that mechanics should become acquainted with.*

Some Americans are of Scottish descent, and some Americans are not of Scottish descent.

I removed my other examples because their use of are of was not the same as the use we are looking at.

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  • Thanks, but why is 1 'fine as it is'? Would you please explain the meaning of that sentence? – NNOX Apps Oct 16 '14 at 9:33
  • Will you please to respond in your answer, and not as a comment? – NNOX Apps Oct 16 '14 at 9:34
  • I paraphrased the phrase in question, and I've added the dictionary definition of this sense of of. – user6951 Oct 16 '14 at 10:15

The article is quoting from a document written centuries ago, when it was much more common than it is today to write "that {something may be possible|may occur}" instead of "so that {something may be possible|may occur}", especially in formal prose such as a preamble to the articles of an organization's charter.

Compare: http://www.godvine.com/bible/job/37-7

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  • These usages of "such as" and "that" are still common in legal documents, such as in deeds that are subject to easements. – Jasper Oct 16 '14 at 21:04
  • Yes indeed. Legal language, especially property law, is mummified language in many respects. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 16 '14 at 21:12

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