<As is true> <It is true> of any developed society

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grammar-in-use

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone,

1a. As is true of any developed society, in America a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships.

Does it make sense to say:
1b. It is true of any developed society that in America a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships.
??:confused:

To compare:
2. a. As is known to us, the whale is not a fish
b. It is known to us that the whale is not a fish.
I think 2a and 2b are interchangeable, then what about 1a and 1b?

Thanks a lot in advance!
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I read it as follows:

    In America, a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships, which is true of any developed society.

    As you can see, I added a comma after 'America' to make the sentence clearer.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    1b does not work - any developed society is not America. There is only one America. So what you are saying is meaningless...

    The original talks about America and only mentions that the same is true of any developed society.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    1b does not work - any developed society is not America. There is only one America. So what you are saying is meaningless...
    :thumbsup:
    2a and 2b are not idiomatic. 2a is passive and general, 2b is passive and impersonal. Neither should include "to us" because the general is implied.

    As is true of any developed society, and As is known are both free modifiers - they act adverbially on the subsequent phrase.

    In the It... that... construction that defines the "preparatory/dummy "it."
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I read it as follows:

    In America, a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships, which is true of any developed society.

    As you can see, I added a comma after 'America' to make the sentence clearer.
    Thank you! Do you think 1b works?
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    :thumbsup:
    2a and 2b are not idiomatic. 2a is passive and general, 2b is passive and impersonal. Neither should include "to us" because the general is implied.

    As is true of any developed society, and As is known are both free modifiers - they act adverbially on the subsequent phrase.

    In the It... that... construction that defines the "preparatory/dummy "it."
    Thank you. What about this pair:
    3 a. As is so often pointed out, knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil.
    b. It is so often pointed out that knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil.
    Both 3a and 3b are acceptable and make sense, right? Then how about 1b?
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1b does not work - any developed society is not America. There is only one America. So what you are saying is meaningless...

    The original talks about America and only mentions that the same is true of any developed society.
    Thank you very much! I think pretty much the same way. There's a sense of comparison in 1a that prevents 1b from being acceptable, right?
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    3 a. As is so often pointed out, knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil.
    b. It is so often pointed out that knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil.
    They are not equivalent. In 3a 'As is so often pointed out' serves as supplementary information to the main information 'knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil'. In 3b that distinction is blurred if not lost altogether.
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    They are not equivalent. In 3a 'As is so often pointed out' serves as supplementary information to the main information 'knowledge is a two-edged weapon which can be used equally for good or evil'. In 3b that distinction is blurred if not lost altogether.
    I know that. Regardless of the distinction, at least 3b is grammatically correct, while 1b is not. So, why is this so?
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Because of "in America".
    And I wouldn't say it's grammatically incorrect; it's just nonsensical.
    When comparing grammatical structures, you must not disregard the meaning.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    How would you explain that 2b and 3b are acceptable while 1b is not?:)
    I don't think anyone actually approved of 2b. The problem there lies with the unidiomatic use of "it is known", and it would work better with the active "we know":
    2c. As we know, the whale is not a fish.
    2d. We know that the whale is not a fish.

    While 3b is acceptable, it does not say quite the same thing as 3a. The focus is different. Sentence 3a presents a fact (namely that knowledge is a double-edged sword, etc.), and adds the incidental remark that this fact is often pointed out. In 3b, the main statement is that the fact is often pointed out.
    When comparing grammatical structures, you must not disregard the meaning.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
    The problem with 1b is not that it is grammatically incorrect (it is correct), but that the logic is broken. It doesn't make sense to say that it is true of any developed society that certain things are true in America. You could perhaps re-express the idea as 1c or 1d:

    1c. It is true of any developed society that, as in America, a complex set...
    1d. It is as true of any developed society as it is in America that a complex set...
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1c. It is true of any developed society that, as in America, a complex set...
    1d. It is as true of any developed society as it is in America that a complex set...
    These comparative constructions are exactly what I wanted!:):thumbsup: Thank you so much!

    Another rewrite has just come to mind. Can I say 1e?
    1e. As with any developed society, in America a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships.

    I don't think anyone actually approved of 2b. The problem there lies with the unidiomatic use of "it is known", and it would work better with the active "we know":
    2c. As we know, the whale is not a fish.
    2d. We know that the whale is not a fish.
    Since "as is known" is not idiomatic, can I say "as far as is known"?
    As far as is known, the whale is not a fish.:confused:
     
    Last edited:

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Can I say 1e?
    1e. As with any developed society, in America a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions, and conventions underlies all social interrelationships.
    Yes, indeed! This means the same as 1a, whereas 1c and 1d are closer in meaning to what I think you wanted 1b to mean.
    Since "as is known" is not idiomatic, can I say "as far as is known"?
    Not really, no. We'd say "As far as we know, ..."
     
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