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.

  • 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? – NNOX Apps Feb 26 '15 at 13:20
  • Will you please to respond in your answer, and not as a comment which is less readable? – NNOX Apps Feb 26 '15 at 13:23
  • Sorry to bother you again, but were you please able to read my comments above? – NNOX Apps 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

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