men as such

grammar-in-use

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello there,

Here's an example sentence from the Longman dictionary under the entry "such":

We have nothing against men as such.

Exactly what does "men as such" mean here? Does it mean "men of this particular kind" or "men in general" or something?

Thanks a lot in advance!
 
  • S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Men as men. Whatever problem the speaker has with men, it is not because they are male.
    In this context, such in the as such phrase refers to the immediately preceding noun or subject.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, in that colloquial use, “as such” does mean men (or whatever) in general / as a whole / as a type. It has much the same meaning as the (still used) Latin term per se.

    Standard uses of “as such”:
    He is the injured party and as such he is entitled to compensation
    Graffiti is vandalism and should be treated as such
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you all, S1m0n, Lingobingo and Teddy!

    I also understand "men as such" the way you do.
    The reason I asked the question was that the Chinese version of the Longman dictionary translates it as something like "men of this type" or "this kind of men", which I doubted.

    Thanks again for confirming it!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't have anything against men as such, but I abhor such men who would abandon their children.

    Men as such = men in general (just because they are men)

    Such men = the type of men specified
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I don't have anything against men as such, but I abhor such men who would abandon their children.

    Men as such = men in general (just because they are men)

    Such men = the type of men specified
    Thank you very much for your illustration!
    How would you rephrase the sentence in question?
    How about this:
    I’m not targeting/criticizing men as such.
    ?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't have anything against men as such, but I abhor such men who would abandon their children.

    Such men = the type of men specified
    But in that example no type has been specified, so “such men” has nothing to refer back to. It doesn’t work, in my opinion.


    I abhor such men who would abandon their children :cross:
    I abhor men who [would] abandon their children :tick:
    I abhor such men as would abandon their children :tick:
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    But in that example no type has been specified, so “such men” has nothing to refer back to. It doesn’t work, in my opinion.

    a. I abhor such men who would abandon their children :cross:
    b. I abhor men who [would] abandon their children :tick:
    c. I abhor such men as would abandon their children :tick:
    Whoa, what subtle syntactic differences! Thank you very much indeed, Lingobingo!
    What I'd like to ask is that, if "such men" has an earlier referent to refer back to in the preceding context, then can we say "I abhor such men who would abandon their children"? (You know, I'm considering the difference in the use of "such...who do..." VS "such...as do..." clauses.)
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “Such” men would correctly mean men “of that kind” (= of the aforementioned kind), but the next comment is about a subgroup of “such men” (= the ones who abandon their children), which it needs its own referent:

    Men who refuse to face their responsibilities are despicable.
    I hate such men who abandon their children. :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
    I hate such men – especially those who abandon their children. :tick:
    I hate men like that – especially the ones who abandon their children. :tick:
    None of which has any direct connection with the phrase “as such”, or to the use of “such as” to introduce an example of something already mentioned. ;)
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    “Such” men would correctly mean men “of that kind” (= of the aforementioned kind), but the next comment is about a subgroup of “such men” (= the ones who abandon their children), which it needs its own referent:

    Men who refuse to face their responsibilities are despicable.
    I hate such men who abandon their children. :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
    I hate such men – especially those who abandon their children. :tick:
    I hate men like that – especially the ones who abandon their children. :tick:
    None of which has any direct connection with the phrase “as such”, or to the use of “such as” to introduce an example of something already mentioned. ;)
    Thank you very much for your detailed explanation, which does make a lot of sense to me.
    Two things have come to mind after I read your comments.

    First of all, let's get back to these example sentences:
    a. I abhor such men who would abandon their children :cross:
    b. I abhor men who [would] abandon their children :tick:
    c. I abhor such men as would abandon their children :tick:
    As I understand it, the "such" in (a) and (c) are different in that the former means "of the type already mentioned", i.e. technically "anaphoric reference", whereas the latter means "of the type that you are just going to mention", i.e. "cataphoric reference". Is that right?

    Second, for the cataphoric "such", as in (c), we need to use "as" (rather than who or which) to introduce a (relative) clause. Is that right?

    After writing the above two points, I'm now inclined to conclude that we (or you native speakers) do not normally say "such...who...", as in (a), whether the "such" is used anaphorically or cataphorically. Am I right?
    Or, could you possibly write a sentence using "such...who..." for an appropriate context?

    I really appreciate your great insights, Lingobingo!
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Surely the point is that the “such” in (a) — “I abhor such men who abandon their children” — doesn’t neatly fit either category?
    Does that such refer to men of the type already described (whoever they are!), or men of the type about to be described (ones who abandon their children)? Does it make “men” the object of abhor or the subject of abandon?


    It’s worth noting that the following valid example of “such [noun] who” is plastered all over the Internet as a famous quote:

    There are always a few such people who demand the utmost of life and yet cannot come to terms with its stupidity and crudeness. (Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf)
    After seeing this ubiquitous quote, anyone not versed in the niceties of grammar could go away with the false impression that “such peope who” is a standard construction, meaning something like “people who typically…”. But of course, it isn’t. The context crucial to the use of “such” (see below) is not provided.

    Because it’s the same for me as for you, because I am alone exactly as you are, because I’m as little fond of life and men and myself as you are and can put up with them as little. There are always a few such people [= people like us, as just described] who demand the utmost of life and yet cannot come to terms with its stupidity and crudeness.
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Because it’s the same for me as for you, because I am alone exactly as you are, because I’m as little fond of life and men and myself as you are and can put up with them as little. There are always a few such people [= people like us, as just described] who demand the utmost of life and yet cannot come to terms with its stupidity and crudeness.
    OK, I see. Context is everything.
    How about this stand-alone example sentence from the Longman dictionary:

    Such individuals who take up this role often find life frustrating.

    How would you interpret this "such...who..." pattern here?😊
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What does such refer to? It’s the same out-of-context use as the other examples. If it doesn’t relate the word “individuals” to a particular type of individual, “such” serves no purpose. All you need to say is:

    Individuals who take up this role often find life frustrating.
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    OK, I see. Thanks a lot!

    b. I abhor men who [would] abandon their children.
    c. I abhor such men as would abandon their children.

    Can I ask another question?
    Why is "would" in (b) optional but not so in (c)? What message or sense does "would" convey in (c)?
     
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