I came across the following sentence in a practice book:

Wasting money as it does, I don't know how this business can succeed.

When I looked it up in dictionaries, the closest use I found for as in this case is to show constrast, similar to although. For example: Angry as he was, he couldn't help smiling.

So, is the above sentence correct? It doesn't show contrast.

If it did, it would be: Wasting money as it does, the business still succeeds.

Or can as be used that way to add information?

Thank you.

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    By most people's lights your first example isn't valid, because you've started with a dangling participle (semantically, the subject of wasting should be this business, but syntactically it's I). For the issue you're really asking about - No, there's nothing wrong with Wasting money as it does, this business can't succeed [in my opinion]. Oh - and as here means in the [same] way (equating, not contrasting). – FumbleFingers Jul 8 '16 at 1:36
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    I don't know how this business can succeed, wasting money the way it does. (In the context, as means in the way (that).) It's a matter of construction. – Archa Jul 8 '16 at 1:42
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    @FumbleFingers - I don't see how the first example is invalid. The referent of the participle phrase is easily and intuitively identified. Though one can certainly construct examples that are awkward or ambiguous, it's entirely normal for phrases to not have the closest possible association with their referents. – Hot Licks Jul 8 '16 at 11:45
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    @Hot Licks: I never suggested anyone would have a problem understanding OP's text - in fact, I specifically contrasted the semantics (the meaning we naturally assume) with the syntax. But undoubtedly it is a classic example of a dangling participle (structurally, it's identical to the example Flying south for the winter, I saw a huge flock of swallows, as given in my link). Most people who know of such things would surely agree that it's an "error" - in this context, you just happen not to be included in what I refer to as "most people". – FumbleFingers Jul 8 '16 at 12:26
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    Yes, the use of "as" is proper. In this sentence, "as" simply means "like" (i.e., "Wasting money like it does, I don't know how this business can succeed."). It should be noted, however, that this sentence is mismodified. @FumbleFingers is right. The absolute phrase "wasting time as it does" is a dangling participle. It needs to refer to the subject, but the subject "I" isn't wasting time—the "business" is. So the sentence needs to be reworded to make "business" the subject, or the introductory phrase needs to be changed so that it doesn't improperly modify the main clause's subject-verb. – Benjamin Harman Jul 9 '16 at 3:12

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition (2000) identifies two relevant meanings of the word as when it is used as a conjunction:

as ... conj. ... 2. In the same manner or way that: Think as I think. ... 6. Though: Great as the author was, he proved a bad model.

The first example—

Wasting money as it does, I don't know how this business can succeed.

—amounts to saying

I don't know how this business can succeed, wasting money as it does.

where it refers to "this business." The comparison is therefore reflexive—in effect, "this business, wasting money in the manner or way that this business does..." The meaning of as in the original wording is thus the meaning given as definition 2 of AHDEL above, except that the word "same" is unnecessary in the substitution of the definition for the original word as because a thing is necessarily the same as itself.

The second example—

Angry as he was, he couldn't help smiling.

—clearly uses as in the sense of "though"—AHDEL's sixth definition above.

  • I think the OP is also incorrectly taking as to have 3 arguments: "wasting money", "it does", and "I don't know how this business can succeed", hence their suggestion of as marking contrast. Perhaps the idea of contrast comes from sentences like "As steady as it is, I won't trust my weight to it.", with the initial as ellipsed. – Lawrence Aug 13 '16 at 2:20

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