I stopped her with a kiss. I thought she would push me away, tell me she just saw me as a friend, or worse, just as another member of the club.

Do I need that second as? Why or why not?

  • 3
    You don't need to repeat as because deletion of such repeated elements is a standard feature of English. In your exact context, most native speakers would probably delete the second occurrence, but that's not to imply there's anything better or worse about either version. – FumbleFingers Apr 24 '15 at 14:07

You do not need the second as. It's ok if you keep it or delete it.

If you keep it, it would be more common to change its position with just so you would have:

I thought she would push me away, tell me she just saw me as a friend, or worse, as just another member of the club.

We often delete (omit) a piece of language in grammatically predictable sentence positions, and depend on the reader or listener to supply it for themselves (or to understand that it's implicitly there).

The linguistic concept is called ellipsis, the process is called deletion. (At least by linguists like the author of Ellipsis Happens, and Deletion Is How.)

Ellipsis is a complex topic in grammar and linguistics (different experts conceive of and describe it in different ways and using different terms), and it can cause a great deal of difficulty for English learners because it is widespread and common in English. It is likely a larger problem for learners who are, who at least believe they are, learning English in a conscious process of accumulating facts and information about the language.

For further information, see also Wikipedia, for example, and if searching for the term ellipsis, don't confuse it with the punctuation mark, ( . . . ), which has the same name.

There are two kinds of ellipsis: situational and textual.

In situational ellipsis, we leave out pieces of spoken English when the context makes it clear enough what the listener should understand. A common example is to leave out I, I'm, etc., in speech like

Q: Is it raining now? A: Not sure.

Textual ellipsis happens in both speech and writing. Under textual ellipsis, we can leave out pieces of language that we think can be supplied by the listener or reader because their existence can be implied using predictable grammatical patterns.

Textual ellipsis occurs most frequently after and and but, when we leave out subjects, verbs, articles and nouns if these are already specified in the previous clause.

   You ought to clean your teeth and brush your hair.

   (You ought to clearn your teeth and [you ought to] brush your hair.)

--From Grammar for English Language Teachers, pp. 319-20.

In your example, we have an extension of this idea: As can be left out because proficient English users can supply it implicitly. While it would be too difficult or impossible to specify all the rules describing when we can and cannot leave out every particular possible language chunk in every potential situation, it's a good idea for English learners to try to remember that ellipsis may be at work when confronted with something that appears to be missing.

Natural learning and "input hypothesis" linguists and learning experts believe that learner's minds are quite good at learning about ellipsis mostly unconsciously while exposed to enough langauge under the right conditions.


You need it. That part of the sentence is a shortened version of:

tell me she just saw me as a friend

or worse

(tell me she just saw me) just as another member of the club

If anything I'd lose the second 'just'.

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