as he could

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as he could

Post by navi » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:36 am

1) He did it as he could.

Could '1' mean: "He did it because he could"?

2) People forget as people can.


Can '2' mean: 'People forget in the way they can.'

Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: as he could

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:44 pm

I don't think any native speaker of English would choose to utter either of those sentences.
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Re: as he could

Post by Phil White » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:22 pm

Sentence 1: As Erik says, this would be unusual. "Because" would be normal.
Sentence 2: This is a grammatically correct formulation and the "as" is okay, but it is an entirely bizarre utterance. But the structure is okay, as in "He forgot, as people can".
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: as he could

Post by navi » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:35 am

Thank you both very much,

How about:

3) He did it as only he could. (in the way only he could do it in)
4) He did it, as only he could. (because he was the only one who did it)

I am not sure either work, but maybe '4' is ambiguous.

5) Only Tom could save us. And he it, as only he could.

6) Jeff committed the murder. I'm sure it was him. He did it, as only he could.

( He did it, because only he could)

I am not at all sure of anything I am saying! I am just trying to see if these sentences work!
I hope I'm not getting on your nerves!

Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: as he could

Post by Phil White » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:51 am

3 is fine. The comma in 4 does not really change the meaning. It just makes the clause parenthetical.

As I said in your other similar post, the "because" meaning is rare, and the context for that meaning has to be well established for people to understand that meaning. We would almost always prefer "since" or "because".

"I had to walk home as I had no money." Here, the semantics of the entire utterance make it clear that the meaning is causal, so the usage is unproblematic.

But ultimately, as with so many of your questions, you can make plenty of ambiguous sentences if you really want to, but native speakers immediately avoid them if they are aware of them.
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Re: as he could

Post by navi » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:09 pm

Thank you very much, Phil,

I am interested in ambiguity, but I try to avoid it when I speak. My interest is basically theoretical. In practice, context almost always clarifies things. Even when people make mistakes, the meaning generally gets through because there is a huge context involved that immediately excludes the incorrect interpretations.

But I try to avoid sentences like these and go for the simplest and clearest sentence possible. I mess up from time to time though!

Respectfully,
Naiv
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