I need help in fully comprehending the sentence below. Please take a look and thanks in advance. :)

-From a passage about Semiotics

"Various typologies of signs have been proposed, but three fundamental classes of signs seem to stand out as requiring different approaches: the icon, the index, and the sign proper."

What does 'as requiring different approaches' mean? I can understand the sentence only up to the point where it says 'but three..stand out'.

  1. What is requiring what?

  2. Can I replace 'as requiring' to 'which requires'? If not, how can I say this confusing part differently?

  3. Is as + v-ing certain usage of 'as'?

  • What is the source of your sentence? Can you post a link or picture?
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


The more interesting phrase here is "[In the context of Ns], N stands out as A", where N is a noun that is part of Ns, and A is an adjective or adjective-like phrase. Here are some examples:

The phrase indicates that N is particularly A in the context. In your example:

  1. What requires what? The "classes...require...approaches".
  2. If you replace 'as requiring' with 'which require', it would imply that they really "stand out" more. A different phrasing closer to the original meaning might be "there seem to be three fundamental classes that clearly require different approaches".
  3. as+v-ing is not a fruitful analysis in this case, both because "as" is part of the phrase "stands out as", and because "requiring different approaches" is adjective-like.
  • +1) I think your answer makes more sense.
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 19:18

To "stand out as requiring X" means to stand out because of the fact that they require X.

In your sentence: the icon, the index, and the sign proper stand out among fundamental classes of signs because they require different approaches.

No, you can't replace "as requiring" by "which requires". Replacing it by "because they require" would be closer to the mark.

  • I don't think "as" in the sentence has anything to do with "because".
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:11
  • @Rathony I never said it did! Just that "because they require" would be a reasonable(ish) paraphrase. Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:13
  • Let me rephrase my comment. I don't think "as requiring X" in the sentence has anything to do with "because of the fact that they require X"
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Rathony How about "in that they require X" - would you agree with that as a paraphrase? Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:15
  • "As" can mean a few things and I think "because of..." doesn't fit in the context. I just posted a comment to ask about the source. It is always better to clarify its source first and post an answer.
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 16:18

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