1

Source

Truman drafted an order to MacArthur, which was issued under Bradley's signature:

I deeply regret that it becomes my duty as President ... to replace you ....

You will turn over your commands, effective at once, to Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway. You are authorized to have issued such orders as are necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you select.

1. Am I right that such is a determiner, and not a pronoun here?

2. Regardless of 1, such must still refer to a noun. Yet no place has been broached? So did the writer mean 'ANY such place'? Then why omit ANY?

  • You might want to withdraw your acceptance of my answer, at least for now. @δοῦλος has raised two good doubts about it: the text might not actually be from a telegram, and there might be a peculiar but standard use of "such" here. – Ben Kovitz Feb 22 '15 at 23:05
  • @BenKovitz Thank you for your caution. I've done so, as recommended. I'll await more replies or edits, but please tell me if I should accept δοῦλος's answer? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Feb 22 '15 at 23:06
3

The actual text is:

...YOU WILL TURN OVER YOUR COMMANDS CMA EFFECTIVE AT ONCE CMA TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL MATTHEW BAKER RIDGWAY PD YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO HAVE ISSUED SUCH ORDERS AS ARE NECESSARY TO COMPLETE DESIRED TRAVEL TO SUCH PLACE AS YOU SELECT PD PARA MY REASONS FOR YOUR REPLACEMENT CMA WILL BE MADE PUBLIC CONCURRENTLY WITH THE DELIVERY TO YOU OF...

The text is from a telegram. I'm only guessing, but it appears that CMA means a comma, PD means a period, and PARA means a paragraph break.

You are right that such in this context is a determiner. Ordinary usage would be such a place. I think the reason a is omitted is because in a telegram, people often wrote in a clipped style that omits articles and small words whenever possible. (I know, that seems silly given how many long words and punctuation marks are spelled out, but people are sometimes silly when it comes to language.)

Some similar clipped writing appears at the top of the page:

ITEM HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TO RELAY THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE TO YOU FROM PRESIDENT TRUMAN COLON QUOTE ITEM DEEPLY REGRET THAT IT BECOMES MY DUTY AS PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF...

The word "I" has been omitted before "deeply regret", as is typical in the clipped style of English. Apparently a Wikipedia editor supplied the missing "I".

See Telegram style and this for a little more information.

  • So Item is used for I, presumably to avoid miscommunication if the part with I got torn or defaced or something... – user6951 Feb 3 '15 at 8:01
  • Or it's just fortuitous that Item appears twice as a "header' (??) where the omitted (??) I would go? – user6951 Feb 3 '15 at 8:12
  • @δοῦλος I did some googling to see what ITEM meant, and didn't find anything. I figured it might have been something like a bullet point, maybe instructing a transcriptionist about how to format the text. But your theory sounds instantly much more plausible. The little word I is easily lost, and it was (and still is) commonplace to develop conventions for replacing short, indistinct words with longer words in noisy communication channels. – Ben Kovitz Feb 3 '15 at 9:33
  • 1
    Any source that can provide evidence that this order is a telegram? At any rate, it was meant to be hand-delivered. Was it going to be encoded/decoded during radio transmission? It departs from classic telegraphic language in many ways. I assume that by 1950, the Army did not need to worry about saving a dime by not including "a" in the text. The text includes pronouns often left out of telegrams. The Truman Library has lots of examples of telegrams, including military telegrams. – user6951 Feb 3 '15 at 10:48
  • @δοῦλος I'd like to know. You've definitely made me doubt my answer. – Ben Kovitz Feb 22 '15 at 22:09
2

How is this second use of 'such' any different than the first use of 'such' in the same sentence?

Such is not a pronoun here. It acts similar to a determiner or an adjective. The OED calls it a "demonstrative word". The unabridged Merriam-Webester calls it an adjective. The noun you ask about is there: place. The exact phrase "travel to such place" appears in the 1999 Charter of the City of Los Angeles. This is 49 years after its use in the Truman order.

If a Retired Plan Member resides outside of the State of California, the Board shall have the authority to order medical examinations of Retired Plan Members at any place it may determine to be desirable and shall, if it is determined that it would impose hardship on the person to be examined to travel to such place, have the authority to defray...

In addition a 2005 Code of Federal Reguations (link) also includes the phrase:

...that a total of one-half hour or more is required for the auditor to travel to such place and back to the headquarters, or to the next place of assign-

Given that neither the Charter nor the Code of Federal Regulations is subject to any such thing as telegraphic language, one can assume that such place is a phrase happily associated with government communications of many different kinds.

Granted there is a named antecedant ('any place') in the Charter, yet the OED gives definitions for the adjective/demonstrative such that include both

1 Of the character, degree, or extent described, referred to, or implied in what has been said.

and

2 The previously described or specified; the (person or thing) before mentioned.

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