such as {prepositional phrase} = 2. Of a kind that; like
3. (archaic) Those who

[OED] 7. a. With correlative as pron. (see AS conj. 17), Middle English also as that, taking the place of Old English swelce, swá.
such as = Of the kind or degree that; the kind of (person or thing) that.

This ELU answer helped explain definitions 2 and 3 by interjecting (ellipted?) words between such as (exemplified in this other ELL question).

My Problem: 6 months after asking this question, whenever encountering the above definitions of such as, I still must suspend reading to perform the interjection above, which betrays some mental defect in my understanding.
I wish to surmount and to be cured of this dependence on interjection.
So what have I missed or failed to understand? How can I naturalise the definitions above?


You reason correctly, but there is an easier way.

Definition 3 makes "such as" equivalent to "those who". This needs to be followed by a verb:

Those who [do x] [are/do/other verb]. e. g. "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." "Such as live in glass houses should not throw stones."

So, if you see "such as" followed by a verb (and you rarely will, as this usage is archaic) it is definition 3.

If you see "such as" followed by a noun, it must be definition 1 or 2. And it should not be too difficult to gather from context whether it is 1 or 2. At least, you didn't ask about distinguishing def 1 from def 2.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you. I admit that I didn't ask about distinguishing def 1 from def 2 because I overlooked this; so would you please explain this as well? – Accounting Feb 26 '15 at 13:20
  • Will you please to respond in your answer, and not as a comment which is less readable? – Accounting Feb 26 '15 at 13:23
  • Sorry to bother you again, but were you please able to read my comments above? – Accounting Aug 28 '15 at 21:59
  • Now I don't even see a "def 1" in your question. I have entirely forgotten what I meant in regard to #1. Sorry. – Brian Hitchcock Aug 30 '15 at 9:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.