a coldness on her face such as he had never seen

thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Catelyn Stark stared at Tyrion with a coldness on her face such as he had never seen.
Source: Game of Thrones

Hi, everyone. I have a little doubt about this sentence. Shouldn't the wording be "Catelyn Stark stared at Tyrion with such a coldness on her face as he had never seen"?

Thank you for your opinions.
 
  • Scrawny goat

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    I have a little doubt about this sentence.
    You don't. You have a little question. Doubt cannot be used that way.

    Shouldn't the wording be "Catelyn Stark stared at Tyrion with such a coldness on her face as he had never seen"?
    Your version is comprehensible and not wrong, but has the disadvantage of causing potential confusion as to whether 'never seen' might somehow refers to 'her face', which comes right after it.

    If it were spoken with emphasis it would be fine, but I consider the original to be preferable, certainly in writing.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you. I have never encountered this usage of "such as". So is my version the same as the original one meaning-wise? And I don't understand why the author chooses to insert "such" in between "her" and "as"?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Fiction writers often use "literary" language — that is, they express things in unusual ways, for effect.

    with a coldness on her face such as he had never seen
    =
    with a coldness on her face of a kind that he had never seen

    Your version is good too: with such a coldness on her face as he had never seen
    — but in it there's a stronger implication that it's a coldness he had never before seen on her face (as opposed to a coldness he had never seen at all, on anyone's face)
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Hi, there. I have another example:
    Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features, for he was running hard, with occasional little springs, such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs.

    The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
    Doyle, Arthur Conan

    The bold “such as” above is also equivalent to “of a kind that”, isn’t it?
    But what does “that” refer to? “kind” or “little springs”?
    Thank you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    little springs

    But it is, admittedly, a bit odd. We wouldn’t normally talk of someone giving little springs!
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, lingo.
    with a coldness on her face such as he had never seen
    =
    with a coldness on her face of a kind that he had never seen
    So likewise, this that refers to “coldness”, doesn’t it?
    And generally, when we say “X of a kind that+verb”, the “that” therein always refers to X, not “kind”. Is it right?
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you again.
    So why are they different? Don’t both “such as” mean the same?
    1. “with a coldness on her face such as (=of a kind that) he had never seen”
    2. “... with occasional little springs, such as (=of a kind that) a weary man gives...”
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In the phrase “of a kind that”, the relative pronoun that stands in for “kind”.
    In the phrase “such as” (in this context), such refers back to the preceding noun.

    An example [that is] of a kind that even a child can understand.
    An example such as even a child can understand (Even a child can understand such an example)
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Oh, I see. Thank you.
    So can I also think this way in both examples?

    1. “with a coldness on her face such as (=of a kind that=of the same kind as) he had never seen”
    2. “... with occasional little springs, such as (=of a kind that=of the same kind as) a weary man gives...”
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t see what “same” has to do with it. The same as what? No comparison is implied by referring to a particular type of something.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    I don’t see what “same” has to do with it. The same as what? No comparison is implied by referring to a particular type of something.
    A weary man gives little springs when running. The guy being referred to was running with the same little springs.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    OK, I see. Thank you, lingo. I am just influenced by the dictionary definition of “such as” (such as), according to which it seems we can interpret “such as” as “of a kind that” and “of the same kind as” interchangeably.
     
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