I recently answered a question on a Skeptics Stack Exchange where I said this:

Scientists from Harvard University and other countries such as Cyprus and Germany measured the most detailed estimates yet of the toll of air pollution, in a quest to find the cause. The study found that outdoor air pollution is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide, that is divided as such:

  • China: 1,400,000 deaths/year.
  • India: 645,000 deaths/year.
  • European Union: 180,000 deaths/year.
  • Pakistan: 110,000 deaths/year.

An editor later, converted "as such" to "as follows" and mentioned "grammar" as the edit cause. So, I asked my friend who is doing his PhD in linguistics what is the difference between them; but he didn't know.

My questions are: Was the use of "as such" grammatically incorrect in this paragraph? When should I use "as such" vs. "as follows"?

  • 1
    Advice: Don't use "as such" until you are really comfortable with idiomatic English. There are few situations where it is really needed and its use is quite idiomatic. In the above "as follows" is more appropriate. And I'd scratch "that is" above -- just say "... worldwide, divided as follows:" – Hot Licks Dec 18 '15 at 19:11
  • (Look at the several references online for the idiom "as such", such as this one.) – Hot Licks Dec 18 '15 at 19:13
  • Your usage was incorrect, as such usages always have to refer back to something already mentioned (things such as "your usage" in the text preceding this parenthetical, whereas the parenthetical itself features a different word order suitable for referring forward). – FumbleFingers Dec 18 '15 at 19:14
  • (Re-reading, it appears that you may have meant to say something utilizing "such as" -- an entirely different beast.) – Hot Licks Dec 18 '15 at 19:16
  • "As such," "such as," "as follows" are grammatically correct. But only "as follows" is semantically correct. Robusto and Mr Hen's community wiki answer is useful on this page <english.stackexchange.com/questions/29504/…> – Hugh Dec 18 '15 at 21:50

Confusingly, there is more than one problem.

"as such" is 100% wrong and has no connection, at all, to the sentence.

("as such" is simply the same as saying "so". For example, "I am tall, so, I have long legs".)

"as follows" is wrong.

("as follows" or "in the following way" is used after you refer to some set of information. "The name can be written as follows - " "The result can be calculated as follows -" "The professor calculated the mass in the following way -")

A bigger problem here: "divided" is totally wrong.

You could state "They are divided like this:" and then give the full list adding to the total.

OP simply meant:

"Here are some example numbers"


"Here are some national figures:"


"Some of the numbers which make up the 3.3 million are:"

Never, ever, try to write long sentences. (Particularly when dealing with numbers or statistics.) Just state accurately what you mean.

Regarding "as follows", if (for some reason) you wanted to use that phrase there, it would have to be tortured. Something like ... "A few of the national statistics can be written down as follows:" or "Some example figures can be given as follows:" (Note - don't do that, it's just an example for non-native speakers of what "as follows" means.)

Regarding "as such" (which just means "so") it just has no connection whatsoever to the sentence. An example of "as such" might be "Pollution is killing 3.3 million a year, and, as such, it is the world's biggest killer."

  • I am very surprised that "as follows "is wrong! Could you please elaborate on why? – giusti Feb 6 '18 at 11:32
  • hey @giusti Firstly, "divided as follows" is totally wrong (add up the numbers). Secondly, I added an explanation of how "as follows" is used. – Fattie Feb 6 '18 at 12:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.