Doing justice to the phenomenon of mass evil poses a host of ticklish problems. You can get lost in a catalogue of numbers, losing the sense of individual lives being randomly terminated. Or, as has happened to novelists and film-makers, you can appear besotted by radical evil, ending by glamorising the perpetrators.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/13/black-earth-timothy-snyder-review-the-holocaust-as-history-and-warning-chilling-timely-instructive

I suppose that this sentence is grammatically correct. But why is not "it" used in the last sentence, i.e. "as it has happened"? Or does "as" work here as the subject?

1 Answer 1


It is fine. Similar sentence (from an example in MacMillan Dictionary:

As has been shown by our study, young people are less likely to vote.

The same pattern can be seen in

...for his character for honesty and sobriety was good, and, as far as was known, he owed no money in the colony.
If, as is believed by many Canadians, Canada can not exist without Quebec, then it simply does not deserve to exist.

I'm currently at a loss to name the construct precisely...

  • 2
    CGEL calls it a "term comparison of equality where the preposition as appears on its own, without a superordinate comparative governor" (1146). If you want to know more, the discussion goes on for the next seven pages!, with the key terms defined at 1099-1106. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 21:56

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