As was hardly uncommon

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
As was hardly uncommon, the First Thursday Book Club had begun to drift away from that month’s text, which happened to be Atonement, by Ian McEwan. The novel’s story followed two lovers, sundered from one another almost before their relationship had begun, by the false accusation of a preternaturally imaginative young girl named Briony.
Source: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

as was hardly uncommon = as it was hardly uncommon, right? It is an informal way of writing or speaking?

When I looked up this collocation, I was surprised with its popularity.
Some definitions of as was I looked up:
as was : formerly, as in Joan Smith - Gardner as was; Gauteng ( Johannesburg as was)

Thank you.
edit:typo corrected
 
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  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's not clear what you're asking, since you have asked if the phrase is equal to itself. What it means is "As often happened". "As was hardly uncommon" is not particularly informal, although in this context it is perhaps slightly playful.

    The use of "as was" to mean "formerly" is unrelated to this. It is also uncommon, at least in American English. (I don't know about its frequency in British English.)
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you. Typo is now corrected in OP. I meant to write:
    as was hardly uncommon = as it was hardly uncommon, right? It is an informal way of writing or speaking?
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you for further replay. I understand the meaning but not the grammatical construct of sentences such as “as often suggested, as often said...”. Or is it an idiom that I must ingest?
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think I can answer that. It's not something that's ever come up in my reading or study, so I don't know the terminology for it (or even whether there is specific terminology for it).
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It has to be an idiom, then! You bite it off, chew it thoroughly, then digest it slowly.
    It's a sort of passive version of "as people say"/ "as we say", or "as one says". Neither of those has a pronoun object 'it', so when we want to express a passive form of these constructions, we have no available subject 'it', such as: "as it is often said".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    As was hardly uncommon
    is an adverbial phrase. - "In a manner that nobody thought was unusual"

    "As it was hardly uncommon" is a subordinate clause or reason: "They looked for some sand, as it was hardly uncommon, they found a lot of it." -> as = because.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    The First Thursday Book Club, in a way/manner/fashion that was hardly uncommon, had begun to drift away from that month’s text ...
    "As it was hardly uncommon" is a subordinate clause or reason: "They looked for some sand, as it was hardly uncommon, they found a lot of it." -> as = because.
    Right. You have to ask yourself whether it means because/since or the other meaning. I don't think there is a clear rule to follow except to accustom yourself to different usages and contexts.
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I gave this question some more thought while running errands this afternoon, and I was going to post my thoughts here when I saw that PaulQ at #9 had beaten me to it. I endorse his explanation.
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you. Is this expression “adverbial” phrase because of the adverb hardly? The same is not true for the expression: as expected,.... right?
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A phrase is called "adverbial" not because it contains an adverb, but because it functions in the sentence in the same way that an adverb would function. Your example, "as expected", is in fact "adverbial" in this sense.
     
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