The Meaning of As Such: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of the term as such? This guide will provide you with all of the info necessary on the phrase as such, including its definition, example sentences, synonyms, origin, and more!

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What does the phrase as such mean?

According to Collins Dictionary, the phrase as such can be used with a negative to indicate that some expression is not an accurate description of the actual situation. Someone could also use as such after a noun to show that they consider that thing to be separate from other things or factors. In American English, it most commonly means “in itself,” or “as indicated.”

According to Elite Editing, the phrase as such is commonly confused with the word therefore. Therefore is a conjunction, which is a part of speech that connects two words, phrases, or clauses. The word therefore means “consequently,” in its simplest form.

The term as such is also a conjunction but it acts different than therefore. As such means “in that capacity,” or “in and of itself.” The word “such” is a pronoun in this case. When someone uses the proper usage of the phrase as such, there must be an antecedent noun that the pronoun such refers to. One can test if the phrase as such makes sense in a certain context by asking themselves what the “such” in “as such” refers to. If someone is trying to decide between using as such and therefore, but the phrase could be replaced by “as a result,” use therefore instead.

For example, let us take the sentence, “Danielle is a seasoned professor, and _____ can tell the difference between a true emergency and a student making up an excuse.” Which conjunction, therefore or as such, would make sense in this sentence? Let’s start with as such.

Here, if the phrase as such was inserted into the sentence, it would read “Danielle is a seasoned professor, and as such can tell the difference between a true emergency and a student making up an excuse.” Here, the pronoun such refers to the antecedent noun phrase “seasoned professor.” As such is acceptable to use in this scenario.

If we were to insert the phrase therefore into the aforementioned sentence, it would read “Danielle is a seasoned professor, and therefore can tell the difference between a true emergency and a student making up an excuse.” If we replace “therefore” with “as a result,” the sentence makes perfect sense. Therefore, either “as such” or “therefore” can be used in this context.

However, in the following sentence only “therefore” would make sense: “Dogs are very loyal, and ______ will protect their owners no matter what.” Here, if one was to use the phrase “as such,” the sentence would read, “Dogs are very loyal, and as such will protect their owners no matter what.” This does not make any sense because the phrase as such has no antecedent noun for the pronoun “such” to refer to.” H\owever, the blank can be replaced by the phrase “as a result.” Therefore, the word “therefore” works best in this context, and the sentence should read “Dogs are very loyal, and therefore will protect their owners no matter what.”

How can the phrase as such be used in a sentence?

The phrase as such can be used in a plethora of different contexts so long as the pronoun such has an antecedent noun to refer to. Below are a few examples of sentences in which “as such” is an appropriate conjunction to connect two phrases.

Timothy was a low-income foster child, and as such received free lunch at school. Here, the “such” in “as such” refers to the antecedent noun phrase “low-income foster child.”

Marjorie was a horrible English teacher, and as such, her students entered their next classes with little to know knowledge. Here, the “such” in “as such” refers to the noun phrase “horrible English teacher.” 

What is the etymology of the phrase as such?

According to Grammarphobia, the phrase as such first came to be in the mid-17th century. The original form of the phrase was “as it is such,” or “as they are such.” It was first used in John Milton’s 1670 book The History of England  in the below quote:

“True fortitude glories not in the feats of War, as they are such, but as they serve to end War soonest by a victorious Peace.” 

Here, the phrase as such refers to the feats of war. The phrase has for the most part retained its original meaning but has also come to mean “in that capacity.” While many use it to mean something similar to “therefore,” be wary – this phrase still requires certain grammatical elements, namely an antecedent noun, to follow proper grammatical sense. Otherwise, it is considered incorrect usage.

What are synonyms for the phrase as such?

If someone wished to use a phrase with the same definition as the term as such, they could use one of many synonyms. People often use synonyms if they want to avoid repeating themselves or if they are trying to expand their own vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the phrase as such is provided by Thesaurus

  • intrinsically
  • alone
  • independently
  • in essence
  • by itself
  • by and of itself
  • per se
  • of itself
  • solely
  • by its very nature
  • by definition
  • fundamentally
  • virtually
  • singularly
  • in itself

Overall, the phrase as such means “in itself.” This phrase must be used with an antecedent noun so that the pronoun “such” has something to refer to. Many people tend to use as such as a replacement or synonym for the word therefore, but this is not always acceptable grammar.

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/as%20such
  2. https://www.eliteediting.com.au/but-why-can%E2%80%99t-i-use-%E2%80%98as-such%E2%80%99-instead-of-%E2%80%98therefore%E2%80%99/
  3. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/as-such