as can be sustained

Gabriel Malheiros

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hi, there

I was reading a text and I found this:

"Urbanization has been a constant theme in human development for the past ten thousand years. Althoughthere has always been the necessity for a minimum - sometimes a very substantial minimum - of the population to work the land, such surplus individuals as can be sustained have tended to gather in cities."

What does "such surplus individuals as can be sustained" mean?

Thank you
 
  • Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    such surplus individuals as can be sustained = however many non-farmers the farmers can provide for
    It means the people beyond the minimum portion of the total population who are necessary to work the land.
    Does it mean that, as long as the farmers can produce food enough for the other people, these "surplus individuals" can go to the cities? "as can be sustained" = as long as these surplus individuals can be provided for"?

    Thank you very much
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    "Such surplus individuals as can be sustained" means "surplus individuals within the maximum number that the farmers can provide for."
    so is it in accordance with which I said in the other post? "as can be sustained" = as long as these surplus individuals can be provided for"?
    Thank you!
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    so is it in accordance with which I said in the other post? "as can be sustained" = as long as these surplus individuals can be provided for"?
    Thank you!
    No, "as long as" is not part of it.

    Here's a simpler example:

    A: How much room do you have in your car?
    B: I can take three people, plus myself, and such luggage as we can find room for. (=as much luggage as will fit)

    "Such surplus individuals as can be sustained" = As many extra people as we are able to provide for.
     
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